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VISUDDHIMAGGA 



The Path of 
Purification 







The Classic Manual of Buddhist Doctrine and Meditation 



ranslated 



Pah b\ 



Bhikkhu Nanamoli 



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(I 



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The Path of Purification 



Visuddhimagga 






http://www.acces8toinsight.org 



Ciram titthatu saddhammo 
sabbe satta bhavantu sukhitatta 



To my Upajjhaya, 

the late venerable Palane Siri Vajiranana 

Mahanayakathera of Vajirarama, 

Colombo, Sri Lanka. 






The Path of Purification 

( Visuddhimagga) 



by 
Bhadantacariya Buddhaghosa 



Translated from the Pali by 
Bhikkhu Nanamoli 






http://www.acces8toinsight.org 



©1975, 1991, 2010 Buddhist Publication Society. All rights reserved. 

First edition: 1956 by Mr. Ananda Semage Colombo. 

Second edition: 1964 

Reprinted: 1979 by BPS 

Third edition: 1991 

Reprinted: 1999 

Fourth edition: 2010 



National Library and Documentation Centre— Cataloguing-in-Publication Data 



Buddhaghosa Himi 
The Path of Purification: Visuddhimaga/ Buddhaghosa Himi; tr. by 
Nyanamoli Himi.- Kandy: Buddhist Publication Society, 2010, 794p.; 23cm- 
(BPNO207) 

ISBN 978-955-24-0023-6 

i. 294.391 D DC 22 ii. Title 

iii. Nyanamoli Himi tr. 

1. Buddhism 2. Theravada Buddhism 



ISBN 978-955-24-0023-6 



The sponsor of this edition of the Path d Purification devoutly offers the merit 
to the beloved members of her family who have predeceased her, namely, her 
parents, Dr Harry and Mrs Mabel Amarasinghe, her husband, Joyce A. 
Fernando and her brothers, Dr Prasannatissa Harischandra Amarasinghe, 
Ananda Lakshman Amarasinghe and Dr Upali Amarasinghe, who lived 
happily in accordance with the Dhamma with great ki nd ness to al I , and with 
great social commitment and integrity. 



Printed by 

Samayawardana Printers 
Colombo 10. 






Contents 
(General) 

Bibliography xix 

Printed Editions of the Visuddhimagga xix 

List of Abbreviations for Texts Used xxi 

Message from his Holiness the Dalai Lama xxiii 

Publisher's Foreword to Third Edition xxiv 

Publisher's Foreword to Fourth Edition xxiv 

Translator' s Preface xxv 

Introduction xxvn 

The Path of Purification 



Part I — Virtue (Sila) 

Ch.I Description of Virtue 5 

[I. Introductory] 5 

[II. Virtue] 10 

Ch.II The Ascetic Practices 55 

Part II — Concentration (Samadhi) 

Ch.III Taking a Meditation Subject 81 

[A. Development in Brief] 86 

[B. Development in Detail] 87 

[The Ten Impediments] 87 

Ch.IV The Earth Kasina 113 

[The Eighteen Faults of a Monastery] 113 

[The Five Factors of the Resting Place] 116 

[The Lesser Impediments] 116 

[Detailed Instructions for Development] 117 

[The Earth Kasina] 117 

[Making an Earth Kasina] 118 

[Starting Contemplation] 119 

[The Counterpart Sign] 120 

[The Two Kinds of Concentration] 121 

[Guarding the Sign] 122 

[The Ten Kinds of Skill in Absorption] 124 

[The Five Similes] 130 

[Absorption in the Cognitive Series] 131 

[The First Jhana] 133 

[Extension of the Sign] 145 



[The Second Jhana] 148 

[The Third Jhana] 151 

[The Fourth Jhana] 156 

[The Fivefold Reckoning of Jhana] 160 

Ch. V The Remaining Kasinas 162 

[The Water Kasina] 162 

[The Fire Kasina] 163 

[The Air Kasina] 163 

[The Blue Kasina] 164 

[The Yellow Kasina] 164 

[The Red Kasina] 165 

[The White Kasina] 165 

[The Light Kasina] 165 

[The Limited-Space Kasina] 166 

[General] 166 

Ch. VI Foulness as a Meditation Subject 169 

[General Definitions] 169 

[The Bloated] 170 

[The Livid] 179 

[The Festering] 179 

[The Cut Up] 179 

[The Gnawed] 180 

[The Scattered] 180 

[The Hacked and Scattered] 180 

[The Bleeding] 180 

[The Worm-Infested] 180 

[A Skeleton] 180 

[General] 182 

Ch. VII Six Recollections 186 

[(1) Recollection of the Enlightened One] 188 

[Accomplished] 188 

[Fully Enlightened] 192 

[Endowed With Clear Vision and Virtuous Conduct] 193 

[Sublime] 196 

[Knower of Worlds] 198 

[Incomparable Leader of Men to be Tamed] 202 

[Teacher of Gods and Men] 203 

[Enlightened] 204 

[Blessed] 204 

[(2) Recollection of the Dhamma] 209 

[Well Proclaimed] 210 

[Visible Here and Now] 212 

[Not Delayed] 213 

[Inviting of Inspection] 213 

[Onward-Leading] 214 

[Is Directly Experienceable by the Wise] 214 



Contents (General) 

[(3) Recollection of the Sarigha] 215 

[Entered on the Good, Straight, True, Proper Way] 215 

[Fit for Gifts] 216 

[Fit for Hospitality] 217 

[Fit for Offering] 217 

[Fit for Salutation] 217 

[As an Incomparable Field of Merit for the World] 217 

[(4) Recollection of Virtue] 218 

[(5) Recollection of Generosity] 220 

[(6) Recollection of Deities] 221 

[General] 222 

Ch. VIII Other Recollections as Meditation Subjects 225 

[(7) Mindfulness of Death] 225 

[(8) Mindfulness Occupied with the Body] 236 

[(9) Mindfulness of Breathing] 259 

[(lO)Recollection of Peace] 286 

Ch. IX The Divine Abidings 291 

[(1) Loving-Kindness] 291 

[(2) Compassion] 308 

[(3) Gladness] 309 

[(4) Equanimity] 310 

Ch. X The Immaterial States 321 

[(1) The Base Consisting of Boundless Space] 321 

[(2) The Base Consisting of Boundless Consciousness] 326 

[(3) The Base Consisting of Nothingness] 328 

[(4) The Base Consisting of Neither Perception nor Non-Perception] 
330 
[General] 333 

Ch. XI Concentration — Conclusion: 

Nutriment and the Elements 337 

[Perception of Repulsiveness in Nutriment] 337 

[Defining of The Elements: Word Definitions] 344 

[Texts and Commentary in Brief] 345 

[In Detail] 346 

[Method of Development in Brief] 348 

[Method of Development in Detail] 349 

[(1) With Constituents in Brief] 349 

[(2) With Constituents by Analysis] 349 

[(3) With Characteristics in Brief] 357 

[(4) With Characteristics by Analysis] 358 

[Additional Ways of Giving Attention] 358 

[Development of Concentration — Conclusion] 367 

[The Benefits of Developing Concentration] 367 

Ch. XII The Supernormal Powers 369 

[The Benefits of Concentration (Continued)] 369 

[(1) The Kinds of Supernormal Power] 369 



Ch. XIII Other Direct-knowledges 400 

[(2) The Divine Ear Element] 400 

[(3) Penetration of Minds] 402 

[(4) Recollection of Past Lives] 404 

[(5) The Divine Eye — Knowledge of Passing Away and 

Reappearance of Beings] 415 

[General] 421 

Part III — Understanding (Panna) 

Ch. XIV The Aggregates 431 

[A. Understanding] 431 

[B. Description of the Five Aggregates] 439 

[The Materiality Aggregate] 439 

[The Consciousness Aggregate] 455 

[The 89 Kinds of Consciousness — see Table III] 456 

[The 14 Modes of Occurrence of Consciousness] 462 

[The Feeling Aggregate] 466 

[The Perception Aggregate] 468 

[The Formations Aggregate — see Tables II & IV] 468 

[According to Association with Consciousness] 469 

[C. Classification of the Aggregates] 481 

[Materiality] 481 

[Feeling] 484 

[Perception, Formations and Consciousness] 486 

[D. Classes of Knowledge of the Aggregates] 486 

Ch. XV The Bases and Elements 492 

[A. Description of the Bases] 492 

[B. Description of the Elements] 496 

Ch.XVI The Faculties and Truths 503 

[A. Description of the Faculties] 503 

[B. Description of the Truths] 506 

[The Truth of Suffering] 510 

[(i) Birth] 510 

[(h) Ageing] 514 

[(hi) Death] 514 

[(iv) Sorrow] 515 

[(v) Lamentation] 515 

[(vi) Pain] 516 

[(vii) Grief] 516 

[(viii) Despair] 516 

[(ix) Association with the Unloved] 517 

[(x) Separation from the Loved] 517 

[(xi) Not to Get What One Wants] 517 

[(xii) The Five Aggregates] 518 

[The Truth of the Origin of Suffering] 518 



vm 



Contents (General) 

[The Truth of the Cessation of Suffering] 519 

[Discussion on Nibbana] 520 

[The Truth of the Way] 524 

[General] 526 

Ch. XVII The Soil of Understanding — Conclusion: 

Dependent Origination 533 

[Section A. Definition of Dependent Origination] 533 

[Section B. Exposition] 539 

[I. Preamble] 539 

[II. Brief Exposition] 540 

[III. Detailed Exposition] 547 

[(i) Ignorance] 547 

[(ii) Formations] 548 

[(iii) Consciousness] 563 

[(iv) Mentality-Materiality] 579 

[(v) The Sixfold Base] 583 

[(vi) Contact] 586 

[(vii) Feeling] 588 

[(viii) Craving] 589 

[(ix) Clinging] 590 

[(x) Becoming] 593 

[(xi)-(xii) Birth, Etc.] 597 

[Section C. The Wheel of Becoming] 598 

[(i) The Wheel] 598 

[(ii) The Three Times] 600 

[(iii) Cause and Fruit] 600 

[(iv) Various] 603 

Ch. XVIII Purification of View 609 

[Defining of Mentality-Materiality] 609 

[(1) Definition Based on the Four Primaries] 609 

[(2) Definition Based on the Eighteen Elements] 612 

[(3) Definition Based on the Twelve Bases] 612 

[(4) Definition Based on the Five Aggregates] 613 

[(5) Brief Definition Based on the Four Primaries] 613 

[If the Immaterial Fails to Become Evident] 614 

[How the Immaterial States Become Evident] 614 

[No Being Apart from Mentality-Materiality] 616 

[Interdependence of Mentality and Materiality] 618 

Ch. XIX Purification by Overcoming Doubt 621 

[Ways of Discerning Cause and Condition] 621 

[Neither Created by a Creator nor Causeless] 621 

[Its Occurance is Always Due to Conditions] 622 

[General and Particular Conditions] 622 

[Dependent Origination in Reverse Order] 623 

[Dependent Origination in Direct Order] 623 

[Kamma and Kamma-Result] 623 



ix 



[No Doer Apart from Kamma and Result] 627 

[Full-Understanding of the Known] 628 

Ch. XX Purification by Knowledge 

and Vision of What is the Path 

and What is Not the Path 631 

[The Three Kinds of Full-Understanding] 631 

[Insight: Comprehension by Groups] 633 

[Comprehension by Groups — Application of Text] 635 

[Strengthening of Comprehension in Forty Ways] 637 

[Nine Ways of Sharpening the Faculties, Etc 639 

[Comprehension of the Material] 639 

[(a) Kamma-Born Materiality] 640 

[(b) Consciousness-Born Materiality] 641 

[(c) Nutriment-Born Materiality] 642 

[(d) Temperature-Born Materiality] 643 

[Comprehension of the Immaterial] 644 

[The Material Septad] 645 

[The Immaterial Septad] 652 

[The Eighteen Principal Insights] 654 

[Knowledge of Rise and Fall — I] 657 

[The Ten Imperfections of Insight] 660 

Ch. XXI Purification by Knowledge and Vision 

of the Way 666 

[Insight: The Eight Knowledges] 667 

[1. Knowledge of Rise and Fall — II] 667 

[2. Knowledge of Dissolution] 668 

[3. Knowledge of Appearance as Terror] 673 

[4. Knowledge of Danger] 675 

[5. Knowledge of Dispassion] 678 

[6. Knowledge of Desire for Deliverance] 679 

[7. Knowledge of Reflection] 679 

[Discerning Formations as Void] 681 

[8. Knowledge of Equanimity about Formations] 684 

[The Triple Gateway to Liberation] 685 

[The Seven Kinds of Noble Persons] 688 

[The Last Three Knowledges are One] 689 

[Insight Leading to Emergence] 690 

[The Twelve Similes] 692 

[The Difference in the Noble Path's Factors, Etc.] 695 

[9. Conformity Knowledge] 698 

[Sutta References] 699 

Ch. XXII Purification by Knowledge and Vision 701 

[I. Change-of-Lineage, Paths, and Fruits] 701 

[The First Path— First Noble Person] 701 

[The First Fruition — Second Noble Person] 704 

[The Second Path — Third Noble Person] 705 



Contents (General) 

[The Second Fruition — Fourth Noble Person] 706 

[The Third Path— Fifth Noble Person] 706 

[The Third Fruition — Sixth Noble Person] 706 

[The Fourth Path — Seventh Noble Person] 706 

[The Fourth Fruition — Eighth Noble Person] 707 

[II. The States Associated with the Path, Etc.] 707 

[The Four Functions] 721 

[The Four Functions in a Single Moment] 721 

[The Four Functions Described Separately] 723 

[Conclusion] 728 

Ch. XXIII The Benefits In Developing Understanding 730 

[A. Removal of the Defilements] 730 

[B. The Taste of the Noble Fruit] 730 

[C. The Attainment of Cessation] 734 

[D. Worthiness to Receive Gifts] 742 

Conclusion 745 

Index of Subjects & Proper Names 749 

Pali-English Glossary of Some Subjects and Technical Terms 774 

Table I The Materiality Aggregate 788 

Table II The Formations Aggregate 789 

Table III The Consciousness Aggregate 790 

Table IV The Combination of the Formations Aggregate and 

Consciousness Aggregate 792 

Table V The Cognitive Series in the occurrence of consciouness as presented in 
the Visuddhimagga and Commentaries 793 

Table VI Dependent Origination 794 



Contents 
(Detailed, by Topic and Paragraph No.) 

PART I — VIRTUE 

1. Purification of Virtue 

Para. Page 

Chapter I — Description of Virtue 

I. Introductory 1 

II. Virtue 16 

(i) What is virtue? 16 

(ii) In what sense is it virtue? 19 

(iii) What are its characteristic, etc.? 20 

(iv) What are the benefits of virtue? 23 

(v) How many kinds of virtue are there? 25 

1. Monad 26 

2.-8. Dyads 26 

9.-13. Triads 33 

14.-17. Tetrads 39 

Virtue of the fourfold purification 42 

18.-19. Pentads 131 

(vi), (vii) What are the defiling and the cleansing of it? 143 

Chapter II — The Ascetic Practices 

PART II — CONCENTRATION 

2. Purification of Consciousness 

Para. Page 

Chapter III — Taking a Meditation Subject 

Concentration 1 

(i) What is concentration? 2 

(ii) In what sense is it concentration? 3 

(iii) What are its characteristic, etc.? 4 

(iv) How many kinds of concentration are there? 5 

(v), (vi) What are the defiling and the cleansing of it? 26 

(vii) How is it developed? 

(Note: this heading applies as far as Ch. XI, §110) 27 

A. Development in brief 27 

B. Development in detail (see note above) 29 

The ten impediments 29 

The good friend 57 



Contents (Detailed) 

Meditation subjects, etc 57 

Temperaments 74 

Definition of meditation subjects 103 

Self-dedication 123 

Ways of expounding 130 

Chapter IV — The Earth Kasina 

The eighteen faults of a monastery 2 

The five factors of the resting-place 19 

The lesser impediments 20 

Detailed instructions for development 21 

The earth kasina 21 

The two kinds of concentration 32 

Guarding the sign 34 

The ten kinds of skill in absorption 42 

Balancing the effort 66 

Absorption in the cognitive series 74 

The first jhana 79 

Extending the sign 126 

Mastery in five ways 131 

The second jhana 139 

The third jhana 153 

The fourth jhana 183 

The fivefold reckoning of jhana 198 

Chapter V — The Remaining Kasinas 

The Water Kasina 1 

The Fire Kasina 5 

The Air Kasina 9 

The Blue Kasina 12 

The Yellow Kasina 15 

The Red Kasina 17 

The White Kasina 19 

The Light Kasina 21 

The Limited-Space Kasina 24 

General 27 

Chapter VI — Foulness as a Meditation Subject 

General definitions 1 

The bloated 12 

The Livid 70 

The Festering 71 

The Cut Up 72 

The Gnawed 73 

The Scattered 74 



The Hacked and Scattered 75 

The Bleeding 76 

Worm-infested 77 

A Skeleton 78 

General 82 

Chapter VII — Six Recollections 

(1) Recollection of the Buddha 2 

(2) Recollection of the Dhamma 68 

(3) Recollection of the Sangha 89 

(4) Recollection of virtue 101 

(5) Recollection of generosity 107 

(6) Recollection of deities 115 

General 119 

Chapter VIII — Other Recollections as Meditation Subjects 

(7) Mindfulness of death 1 

(8) Mindfulness occupied with the body 42 

(9) Mindfulness of breathing 145 

(10) The recollection of peace 245 

Chapter IX — The Divine Abidings 

Loving kindness 1 

Compassion 77 

Gladness 84 

Equanimity 88 

General 91 

Chapter X — The Immaterial States 

The base consisting of boundless space 1 

The base consisting of boundless consciousness 25 

The base consisting of nothingness 32 

The base consisting of neither perception nor non-perception 40 

General 56 

Chapter XI — Concentration (Conclusion): 
Nutriment and the Elements 

Perception of repulsiveness in nutriment 1 

Definition of the four elements 27 

Development of concentration — conclusion 118 

(viii) What are the benefits of concentration? (see Ch. Ill, §1) . 120 

Chapter XII — The Supernormal Powers 

The benefits of concentration 1 

The five kinds of direct-knowledge 2 



Contents (Detailed) 

(1) The kinds of supernormal power 2 

(i) Supernormal power as resolve 46 

(ii) Supernormal power as transformation 137 

(iii) Supernormal power as the mind-made body 139 

Chapter XIII — Other Direct-knowledges 

(2) The divine ear element 1 

(3) Penetration of minds 8 

(4) Recollection of past life 13 

(5) The divine eye 72 

General 102 

Part III — Understanding (Panna) 

The Soil in which Understanding Grows 
(Chs. XIV through XVII) 

Para. Page 

Chapter XIV — The Aggregates 

A. Understanding 1 

(i) What is understanding? 2 

(ii) In what sense is it understanding? 3 

(iii) What are its characteristic, etc.? 7 

(iv) How many kinds of understanding are there? 8 

(v) How is it developed? (ends with end of Ch. XXII) 32 

B. Description of the five aggregates 33 

The materiality aggregate 34 

The consciousness aggregate 81 

The feeling aggregate 125 

The perception aggregate 129 

The formations aggregate 131 

C. Classification of the aggregates 185 

D. Classes of knowledge of the aggregates 210 

Chapter XV — The Bases and Elements 

A. Description of the bases 1 

B. Description of the elements 17 

Chapter XVI — The Faculties and Truths 

A. Description of the faculties 1 

B. Description of the truths 13 

1. The truth of suffering 32 

2. The truth of the origin of suffering 61 

3. The truth of the cessation of suffering 62 

Discussion of nibbana 67 



4. The truth of the way 75 

General 84 

Chapter XVII — The Soil of Understanding (Conclusion): 
Dependent Origination 

A. Definition of dependent origination 1 

B. Exposition 25 

I. Preamble 25 

II. Brief exposition 27 

III. Detailed exposition 58 

(1) Ignorance 58 

(2) Formations 60 

The 24 conditions 66 

How ignorance is a condition for formations 101 

(3) Consciousnes 120 

(4) Mentality-materiality 186 

(5) The sixfold base 203 

(6) Contact 220 

(7) Feeling 228 

(8) Craving 233 

(9) Clinging 239 

(lO)Becoming (being) 249 

(11-12) Birth, etc 270 

C. The Wheel of Becoming 273 

i. The Wheel 273 

ii. The three times 284 

iii. Cause and fruit 288 

iv. Various 299 

3. Purification of View 

Chapter XVIII — Purification of View 

I. Introductory 1 

II. Defining of mentality-materiality 3 

1. Definitions of mentality-materiality 3 

(1) Based on the four primaries 3 

(a) Starting with mentality 3 

(b) Starting with materiality 5 

(2) Based on the eighteen elements 9 

(3) Based on the twelve bases 12 

(4) Based on the five aggregates 13 

(5) Brief definition 14 

2. If the immaterial fails to become evident 15 

3. How the immaterial states become evident 18 

4. No being apart from mentality-materiality 24 

5. Interdependence of mentality and materiality 32 

Conclusion 37 



Contents (Detailed) 

4. Purification by Overcoming Doubt 

Chapter XIX — Purification by Overcoming Doubt 

I. Introductory 1 

II. Ways of discerning cause and condition 2 

1. Neither created by a creator nor causeless 3 

2. Its occurrence is always due to conditions 5 

3. General and particular conditions 7 

4. Dependent origination in reverse order 11 

5. Dependent origination in direct order 12 

6. Kamma and kamma-result 13 

7. No doer apart from kamma and result 19 

III. Full-understanding of the known 21 

5. Purification by Knowledge and Vision of What Is and What 
Is Not the Path 

Chapter XX — Purification by Knowledge & Vision of What Is 
and What Is Not the Path 

I. Introductory 1 

The Fifth Purificdation 2 

The three kinds of full-understanding 3 

II. Insight 6 

1. Comprehension by groups 6 

2. Strengthening of comprehension in forty ways 18 

3. Nine ways of sharpening the faculties 21 

4. Comprehension of the material 22 

(a) Kamma-bommateriality 27 

(b) Consciousness-born materiality 30 

(c) Nutriment-born materiality 35 

(d) Temperature-born materiality 39 

5. Comprehension of the immaterial 43 

6. The material septad 45 

7. The immaterial septad 76 

The eighteen principal insights 89 

Knowledge of rise and fall — (I) 93 

The ten imperfections of insight 105 

Conclusion 130 

6. Purification by Knowledge and Vision of the Way 

Chapter XXI — Purification by Knowledge and Vision 
of the Way 

Introductory 1 

Insight: the eight knowledges 3 

1. Knowledge of rise and fall — II 3 

2. Knowledge of dissolution 10 



xvii 



3. Knowledge of appearance as terror 29 

4. Knowledge of danger 35 

5. Knowledge of dispassion 43 

6. Knowledge of desire for deliverance 45 

7. Knowledge of reflexion 47 

Discerning formations as void 53 

8. Knowledge of equanimity about formations 61 

The triple gateway to liberation 66 

The seven kinds of noble persons 74 

Tha last three knowledges are one 79 

Insight leading to emergence 83 

The twelve similes 90 

The difference in the noble path's factors, etc Ill 

9. Conformity knowledge 128 

Sutta references 135 

7. Purification by Knowledge and Vision 

Chapter XXII — Purification by Knowledge and Vision 

I. Change-of-lineage, paths and fruits 1 

II. The states associated with the path, etc 32 

1. The 37 states partaking of enlightenment 33 

2. Emergence and coupling of the powers 44 

3. States to be abandoned 47 

4. Four functions in a single moment 92 

5. Four functions separately 104 

Conclusion 129 

The Benefits of Understanding 

Chapter XXIII — The Benefits in Developing Understanding 

(vi) What are the benefits in developing understanding? 1 

A. Removal of the defilements 2 

B. The taste of the noble fruit 3 

C. The attainment of cessation 16 

D. Worthiness to receive gifts 53 

Conclusion (Epilogue) 



Bibliography 

Printed Editions of the Visuddhimagga 

Sinhalese script: Hewavitarne Bequest edition, Colombo. 
Burmese script: Hanthawaddy Press edition, Rangoon, 1900. 
Siamese script: Royal Siamese edition, Bangkok. 

Latin script: Pali Text Society's edition, London. Harvard University Press edition, 
Harvard Oriental Series, Vol. 41, Cambridge, Mass., 1950. 

Translations of the Visuddhimagga 

English: The Path of Purity by Pe Maung Tin, PTS, London. 3 vols., 1922-31. 
German: Visuddhimagga (der Weg zur Reinheit) by Nyanatiloka, Verlag Christiani, 

Konstanz, 1952. Reprinted by Jhana-Verlag, Uttenbuhl, 1997. 
Sinhala: Visuddhimarga-mahasanne, ed. Ratanapala Medhankara et al, 2 vols., 

Kalutara, 1949. (Also called Parakramabahu-sannaya. A Pali-Sinhala 

paraphrase composed by King Pandita Parakramabahu II in the 13th cent. 

CE.) Visuddhimargaya, Sinhala translation by Pandita Matara Sri Dharmavamsa 

Sthavira, Matara, 1953. Etc. 
French: Le Chemin de la purete, transl. by Christian Maes, Editions Fayard, Paris 

2002. 
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Antonella Serena Comba, Lulu.com, Raleigh, 2008. 

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London, 1892. 
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by W. Geiger, PTS London. 
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1879. 
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and Miss H. Kohn, Calcutta University, 1933. 
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xix 

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Path of Purification 

The Life and Work of Buddhaghosa, by B.C. Law, Thacker, and Spink, Calcutta and 

Simla, 1923. 
Mahavamsa or Great Chronicle of Ceylon, English translation by W. Geiger, PTS, 

London. 
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1928. Reprinted by BPS, Kandy 1994. 
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Ghosh, Calcutta University, 1943. 
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(Visuddhimaggamaha-tTka). Vidyodaya ed. in Sinhalese script, Colombo 

(Chapters I to XVII only). PC. Mundyne Pitaka Press ed. in Burmese script, 

Rangoon, 1909 (Chapters I to XI), 1910 (Chapters XII to XXIII). Siamese ed. in 

Siamese script, Bangkok. Latin script edition on Chattha Sangayana CDROM 

of Vipassana Research Institute, Igatpuri. No English translation. 
Theravada Buddhism in Burma, by Niharranjan Ray, Calcutta University, 1946 

(pp. 24 ff.). 
Vimuttimagga, Chinese translation: Jie-tu-dao-liin by Tipitaka Sanghapala of 

Funan (6th cent. CE). Taisho edition at T 32, no. 1648, p. 399c-461c (Nanjio 

no. 1293). 
The Path of Freedom (Vimuttimagga), privately circulated English translation from 

the Chinese by N.R.M. Ehara, VE.P Pulle and GS. Prelis. Printed edition, 

Colombo 1961; reprinted by BPS, Kandy 1995. (Revised, BPS edition 

forthcoming in 2010.) 
Vimuttimagga and Visuddhimagga — Comparative Study, by PV Bapat, Poona, 1937. 

((Reprinted by BPS, 2010)) 






List of Abbreviations for Texts Used 



All editions Pali Text Society unless otherwise stated. 


A 


Anguttara Nikaya 


A-a 


Ahguttara Nikaya Atthakatha = Manor athapuranl 


Cp 


Cariyapitaka 


Cp-a 


Cariyapitaka Atthakatha 


Dhp 


Dhammapada 


Dhp-a 


Dhammapada Atthakatha 


Dhs 


Dhammasahgani 


Dhs-a 


Dhammasahgani Atthakatha = Atthasalini 


Dhs-t 


Dhammasarigam Tika = Mula Tlka II 


Dhatuk 


Dhatukatha 


D 


Digha Nikaya 


D-a 


Digha Nikaya Atthakatha = Sumangala-vilasim 


It 


Itivuttaka 


J-a 


Jataka-atthakatha 


Kv 


Kathavatthu 


Mhv 


Mahavamsa 


M 


Majjhima Nikaya 


M-a 


Majjhima Nikaya Atthakatha = Papanca-sudanl 


Mil 


Milindapahha 


Netti 


Nettipakarana 


Niddl 


Maha Niddesa 


Nidd II 


Cula Niddesa (Siamese ed.) 


Nikaya-s 


Nikayasamgrahaya 


Patis 


Patisambhidamagga 


Patis-a 


Patisambhidamagga Atthakatha = Saddhammappakasinl (Sinhalese 




Hewavitarne ed.). 


Patth I 


Patthana, Tika Patthana 


Patth II 


Patthana, Duka Patthana (Se and Be.) 


Pet 


Petakopadesa 


Pv 


Petavatthu 


S 


Samyutta Nikaya 


S-a 


Samyutta Nikaya Atthakatha = Saratthappakasini 


Sn 


Sutta-nipata 


Sn-a 


Sutta-nipata Atthakatha = Paramatthajotika 


Th 


Thera-gatha 


Ud 


Udana 


Vibh 


Vibhahga 


Vibh-a 


Vibhanga Atthakatha = Sammohavinodanl 


Vibh-t 


Vibhahga Tlka = Mula Tlka II 


Vv 


Vimanavatthu 


VinI 


Vinaya Pitaka (3) — Mahavagga 


Vinll 


Vinaya Pitaka (4) — Culavagga 


Vin III 


Vinaya Pitaka (1) — Suttavibhahga 1 


VinlV 


Vinaya Pitaka (2) — Suttavibhahga 2 


VinV 


Vinaya Pitaka (5) — Parivara 


Vism 


Visuddhimagga (PTS ed. [= Ee] and Harvard Oriental Series ed. [= Ae]) 



XXI 






Path of Purification 



Vism-mht Paramatthamanjusa, Visuddhimagga Atthakatha = Maha Tika (Chs. I to 
XVII Sinhalese Vidyodaya ed.; Chs. XVIII to XXIII Be ed.) 

Other Abbreviations 

Ae American Edition (= Harvard Oriental Series) 

Be Burmese Edition 

Ce Ceylonese Edition 

CPD Critical Pali Dictionary; Treckner 

Ee European Edition (= PTS) 

EHBC The Early History of Buddhism in Ceylon, E. W. Adikaram. 

PED Pali-English Dictionary 

PLC Pali Literature of Ceylon, Malalasekera. 

PTS Pali Text Society 

Se Siamese Edition 



Numbers in square brackets in the text thus [25] refer to the page numbers of the 
Pali Text Society's edition of the Pali. 

Paragraph numbers on the left correspond to the paragraph numbers of the 
Harvard edition of the Pali. 

Chapter and section headings and other numberings have been inserted for 
clarity. 






Message from his Holiness the Dalai Lama 

The history of the development of Buddhist literature seems to be marked by periods 
in which the received teachings and established scriptures are assimilated and 
consolidated and periods of mature creativity when the essence of that transmission 
is expressed afresh. Bhadantacariya Buddhaghosa's Visuddhimagga is a classic 
text of the latter type. It represents the epitome of Pali Buddhist literature, weaving 
together its many strands to create this wonderful meditation manual, which even 
today retains the clarity it revealed when it was written. 

There are occasions when people like to make much of the supposed differences 
in the various traditions of Buddhism that have evolved in different times and places. 
What I find especially encouraging about a book such as this is that it shows so 
clearly how much all schools of Buddhism have fundamentally in common. Within 
a structure based on the traditional three trainings of ethical discipline, concentration 
and wisdom are detailed instructions on how to take an ethical approach to life, 
how to meditate and calm the mind, and on the basis of those how to develop a 
correct understanding of reality. We find practical advice about creating an 
appropriate environment for meditation, the importance of developing love and 
compassion, and discussion of dependent origination that underlies the Buddhist 
view of reality The very title of the work, the Path of Purification, refers to the essential 
Buddhist understanding of the basic nature of the mind as clear and aware, 
unobstructed by disturbing emotions. This quality is possessed by all sentient beings 
which all may realize if we pursue such a path. 

Sometimes I am asked whether Buddhism is suitable for Westerners or not. I 
believe that the essence of all religions deals with basic human problems and 
Buddhism is no exception. As long as we continue to experience the basic human 
sufferings of birth, disease, old age, and death, there is no question of whether it 
is suitable or not as a remedy. Inner peace is the key. In that state of mind you can 
face difficulties with calm and reason. The teachings of love, kindness and 
tolerance, the conduct of non-violence, and especially the Buddhist theory that 
all things are relative can be a source of that inner peace. 

While the essence of Buddhism does not change, superficial cultural aspects 
will change. But how they will change in a particular place, we cannot say. This 
evolves over time. When Buddhism first came from India to countries like Sri Lanka 
or Tibet, it gradually evolved, and in time a unique tradition arose. This is also 
happening in the West, and gradually Buddhism may evolve with Western culture. 

Of course, what distinguishes the contemporary situation from past 
transmissions of Buddhism is that almost the entire array of traditions that 
evolved elsewhere is now accessible to anyone who is interested. And it is in 
such a context that I welcome this new edition of Bhikkhu Nanamoli's celebrated 
English translation of the Path of Purification. I offer my prayers that readers, 
wherever they are, may find in it advice and inspiration to develop that inner 
peace that will contribute to creating a happier and more peaceful world. 

May 2000 



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Path of Purification 

Publisher's Foreword to Third Edition 

Bhikkhu Nanamoli's translation of the Visuddhimagga not only makes available 
in fluent English this difficult and intricate classical work of Theravada 
Buddhism, the high point of the commentarial era, but itself ranks as an 
outstanding cultural achievement perhaps unmatched by Pali Buddhist 
scholarship in the twentieth century. This achievement is even more remarkable 
in that the translator had completed the first draft within his first four years as a 
bhikkhu, which is also the amount of time he had been a student of Pali. 

The Buddhist Publication Society first issued this work beginning in 1975, 
with the kind consent of the original publisher, Mr. Ananda Semage of Colombo. 
This was a reprint produced by photolithographic process from the 1964 edition. 
The 1979 reprint was also a photolithographic reprint, with some minor 
corrections.. 

For this edition the text has been entirely recomposed, this time with the aid 
of the astonishing electronic typesetting equipment that has proliferated during 
the past few years. The text itself has not been altered except in a few places 
where the original translator had evidently made an oversight. However, 
numerous minor stylistic changes have been introduced, particularly in the 
lower casing of many technical terms that Ven. Nanamoli had set in initial capitals 
and, occasionally, in the paragraphing. 

Buddhist Publication Society, 
1991 



Publisher's Foreword to Fourth Edition 

This fourth edition had to be retypeset again because the digital files of the 
previous edition, prepared "with the aid of the astonishing electronic typesetting 
equipment" (as mentioned in the Foreword to the Third Edition) were lost. 

Like in the previous edition, the text itself has not been altered except in a few 
places where Ven. Nanamoli had evidently made an oversight. A few minor 
stylistic changes have been introduced again, such as the utilisation of the 
Critical Pali Dictionary system of abbreviation instead of the PTS system 

The BPS would like to thank John Bullitt, Ester Barias-Wolf, Michael Zoll, 
Manfred Wierich and all others who helped with this project. 

Buddhist Publication Society, 
2010 






Translator's Preface 

Originally I made this translation for my own instruction because the only 
published version was then no longer obtainable. So it was not done with any 
intention at all of publication; but rather it grew together out of notes made on 
some of the book's passages. By the end of 1953 it had been completed, more or 
less, and put aside. Early in the following year a suggestion to publish it was put 
to me, and I eventually agreed, though not without a good deal of hesitation. 
Reasons for agreeing, however, seemed not entirely lacking. The only previous 
English version of this remarkable work had long been out of print. Justification 
too could in some degree be founded on the rather different angle from which 
this version is made. 

Over a year was then spent in typing out the manuscript during which time, 
and since, a good deal of revision has taken place, the intention of the revision 
being always to propitiate the demon of inaccuracy and at the same time to make 
the translation perspicuous and the translator inconspicuous. Had publication 
been delayed, it might well have been more polished. Nevertheless the work of 
polishing is probably endless. Somewhere a halt must be made. 

A guiding principle — the foremost, in fact — has throughout been avoidance 
of misrepresentation or distortion; for the ideal translation (which has yet to be 
made) should, like a looking glass, not discolour or blur or warp the original 
which it reflects. Literalness, however, on the one hand and considerations of 
clarity and style on the other make irreconcilable claims on a translator, who has 
to choose and to compromise. Vindication of his choice is sometimes difficult. 

I have dealt at the end of the Introduction with some particular problems. Not, 
however, with all of them or completely; for the space allotted to an introduction 
is limited. 

Much that is circumstantial has now changed since the Buddha discovered 
and made known his liberating doctrine 2,500 years ago, and likewise since this 
work was composed some nine centuries later. On the other hand, the Truth he 
discovered has remained untouched by all that circumstantial change. Old 
cosmologies give place to new; but the questions of consciousness, of pain and 
death, of responsibility for acts, and of what should be looked to in the scale it 
values as the highest of all, remain. Reasons for the perennial freshness of the 
Buddha's teaching — of his handling of these questions — are several, but not 
least among them is its independence of any particular cosmology. Established 
as it is for its foundation on the self-evident insecurity of the human situation 
(the truth of suffering), the structure of the Four Noble Truths provides an 
unfailing standard of value, unique in its simplicity, its completeness and its 
ethical purity, by means of which any situation can be assessed and a profitable 
choice made. 

Now I should like to make acknowledgements, as follows, to all those without 
whose help this translation would never have been begun, persisted with or 
completed. 



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Path of Purification 

To the venerable Nanatiloka Mahathera (from whom I first learned Pali) for 
his most kind consent to check the draft manuscript. However, although he had 
actually read through the first two chapters, a long spell of illness unfortunately 
prevented him from continuing with this himself. 

To the venerable Soma Thera for his unfailing assistance both in helping me 
to gain familiarity with the often difficult Pali idiom of the Commentaries and to 
get something of the feel — as it were, "from inside" — of Pali literature against its 
Indian background. Failing that, no translation would ever have been made: I 
cannot tell how far I have been able to express any of it in the rendering. 

To the venerable Nyanaponika Thera, German pupil of the venerable 
Nanatiloka Mahathera, for very kindly undertaking to check the whole 
manuscript in detail with the venerable Nanatiloka Mahathera's German 
translation (I knowing no German). 

To all those with whom I have had discussions on the Dhamma, which have 
been many and have contributed to the clearing up of not a few unclear points. 

Lastly, and what is mentioned last bears its own special emphasis, it has been 
an act of singular merit on the part of Mr. A. Semage, of Colombo, to undertake 
to publish this translation. 



Island Hermitage Nanamoli Bhikkhu, 

Dodanduwa, Sri Lanka Vesakhamase, 2499: May, 1956 






Introduction 

The Visuddhimagga — here rendered Path of Purification — is perhaps unique in 
the literature of the world. It systematically summarizes and interprets the 
teaching of the Buddha contained in the Pali Tipitaka, which is now recognized 
in Europe as the oldest and most authentic record of the Buddha's words. As 
the principal non-canonical authority of the Theravada, it forms the hub of a 
complete and coherent method of exegesis of the Tipitaka, using the 
"Abhidhamma method" as it is called. And it sets out detailed practical 
instructions for developing purification of mind. 

Background and Main Facts 

The works of Bhadantacariya Buddhaghosa fill more than thirty volumes in the 
Pali Text Society's Latin-script edition; but what is known of the writer himself is 
meager enough for a page or two to contain the bare facts. 

Before dealing with those facts, however, and in order that they may appear 
oriented, it is worth while first to digress a little by noting how Pali literature falls 
naturally into three main historical periods. The early or classical period, which 
may be called the First Period, begins with the Tipitaka itself in the 6th century 
BCE and ends with the Milindapahha about five centuries later. These works, 
composed in India, were brought to Sri Lanka, where they were maintained in Pali 
but written about in Sinhalese. By the first century CE, Sanskrit (independently of 
the rise of Mahayana) or a vernacular had probably quite displaced Pali as the 
medium of study in all the Buddhist "schools" on the Indian mainland. Literary 
activity in Sri Lanka declined and, it seems, fell into virtual abeyance between CE 
150 and 350, as will appear below. The first Pali renascence was under way in Sri 
Lanka and South India by about 400 and was made viable by Bhadantacariya 
Buddhaghosa. This can be called the Middle Period. Many of its principal figures 
were Indian. It developed in several centres in the South Indian mainland and 
spread to Burma, and it can be said to have lasted till about the 12th century. 
Meanwhile the renewed literary activity again declined in Sri Lanka till it was 
eclipsed by the disastrous invasion of Magha in the 11th century. The second 
renascence, or the Third Period as it may be termed, begins in the following century 
with Sri Lanka's recovery, coinciding more or less with major political changes in 
Burma. In Sri Lanka it lasted for several centuries and in Burma for much longer, 
though India about that time or soon after lost all forms of Buddhism. But this 
period does not concern the present purpose and is only sketched in for the sake 
of perspective. 

The recorded facts relating from the standpoint of Sri Lanka to the rise of the 
Middle Period are very few, and it is worthwhile tabling them. 1 

1. Exact dates are not agreed. The Sri Lanka Chronicles give the lengths of reigns of 
kings of Sri Lanka back to the time of the Buddha and also of kings of Magadha 
from Asoka back to the same time. Calculated backwards the list gives 543 BCE as 
the year of the Buddha's parinibbana (see list of kings in Codrington's Short History 
of Ceylon, Macmillan 1947, p. xvi.). For adjustments to this calculation that bring 

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Path of Purification 

Why did Bhadantacariya Buddhaghosa come to Sri Lanka? And why did his 
work become famous beyond the island's shores? The bare facts without some 
interpretation will hardly answer these questions. Certainly any interpretation must 
be speculative; but if this is borne in mind, some attempt (without claim for 
originality) may perhaps be made on the following lines. 

Up till the reign of King Vattagamani Abhaya in the first century BCE the Great 
Monastery founded by Asoka's son, the Arahant Mahinda, and hitherto without a 
rival for the royal favour, had preserved a reputation for the saintliness of its 



KINGS OF 
CEYLON 


RELEVANT EVENTS 


REFS. 


Devanam piya- 


Arrival in Sri Lanka of the Arahant Mahinda 


Mahavmiisa, Mhv XIII. 


Tissa: 


bringing Pali Tipitaka with Commentaries; 




BCE 307-267 


Commentaries translated into Sinhalese; 
Great Monastery founded. 




Dutthagamani BCE 


Expulsion of invaders after 76 years of 


Mhv XXV-XXXII 


161-137 


foreign occupation of capital; restoration of 
unity and independence. 






Many nam es of Great Monas tery elders, 


Adikaram, Early History 




noted in Commentaries for virtuous 


of Buddhism in Sri Lanka, 




behaviour, traceable to this and following 


pp. 65-70 




reign. 




Vattagamani 


Reign interrupted after 5 months by 


Mhv XXXni.33f. 


BCE 104-88 


rebellion of Brahman Lissa, famine, 
invasion, and king's exile. 






Bhikkhus all disperse from Great Monas tery 


A-a I 92 




to South SL and to India. 






Restoration of king after 14 years and return 


Mhv XXXHI.78 




of bhikkhus. 






Foundation of Abhayagiri Monastery by 


Mhv XXXHI.81 




king. 






Abhayagiri Monastery secedes from Great 


Mhv XXXHI.96 




Monastery and becomes schismatic. 






Committal by Great Monastery of Pali 


Mhv XXXIII.100; 




Lipitaka to writing for firs t tim e (away from 


Nikaya-s (translation) 




royal capital). 


10-11 




Abhayagiri Monastery adopts 


Nikaya-s 11 




"Dhammaruci Nikaya of Vajjiputtaka Sect" 






of India. 





the date of the parinibbana forward to 483 BCE (the date most generally accepted 
in Europe), see e.g. Geiger, Mahavamsa translation (introduction) Epigraphia Zeylanica 
1, 156; E. J. Thomas, Life of the Buddha, Kegan Paul, p. 26, n.l. It seems certain, however, 
that Mahanama was reigning in the year 428 because of a letter sent by him to the 
Chinese court (Codrington p.29; E.Z. Ill, 12). If the adjusted date is accepted then 
60 extra years have somehow to be squeezed out without displacing Mahanama's 
reign. Here the older date has been used. 






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Introduction 



Kutakanna Tissa 
BCE 30-33 



Bhatikabhaya BCE 
20-CE 9 



Khaniraj ami-Tis s a 
30-33 



Vasabha 
66-110 



Gajabahu I 
113-135 

6 kings 
135-215 

Voharika-Tissa 215 
-237 



Gothabhaya 
254-267 



Meeting of Great Monastery bhikkhus 
decides drat care of texts and preaching 
comes before practice of their contents. 

Many Great Monas tery elders ' nam es noted 
in Com m entaries for learning and 
contributions to decision of textual 
problems, traceable to this reign. 

Many elders as last stated traceable to this 
reign too. 

Last Sri Lanka elders' names in Vinaya 
Parivara (p. 2) traceable to this reign; 
Pari vara can thus have been com pleted by 
Great Monastery any time later, before 5th 
cent 

Dispute between Great Monastery and 
Abhayagiri Monastery over Vinaya adjudged 
by Brahman Dlghakarayana in favour of 
Great Monastery 

60 bhikkhus punished for treason. 

Last reign to be mentioned in body of 
Commentaries. 

Sinhalese Commentaries can have been 
closed at any time after this reign. 

Abhayagiri Monastery supported by king 
and enlarged. 

Mentions of royal support for Great 
Monastery and Abhayagiri Monastery 

King supports both monasteries. 

Abhayagiri Monastery has adopted Vetulya 
(Mahayana?) Pitaka. 

King suppresses Vetulya doctrines. 

Vetulya books burnt and heretic bhikkhus 
disgraced 

Corruption of bhikkhus by Vitandavadins 
(heretics or destructive critics). 

Great Monastery supported by king. 

60 bhikkhus in Abhayagiri Monastery 
banished by king for upholding Vetulya 
doctrines. 

Secession from Abhayagiri Monastery; new 
sect formed 

Indian bhikkhu Sahghamitta supports 
Abhayagiri Monastery 



A-a I 92f; EHBC 78 
EHBC 76 

EHBC 80 
EHBC 86 

Vin-a 582; EHBC 99 

Mhv XXXV10 

EHBC 3, 86-7 

EHBC 3, 86-7 

Mhv XXXV119 

Mhv XXXVI, 7, 24, 33, 
65 

Nikaya-s 12 
Mhv XXXVI.41 
Nikaya-s 12 
Dlpavanisa XXII-XXIII 
Mhv XXXVI.102 
Mhv XXXVI.111 

Nikaya-s 13 
Mhv XXXVI.112 






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Path of Purification 



Jettha-Tissa 
267-277 

Mahasena 277-304 



Siri Meghavanna 
304-332 



Jettha-Tissa II 
332-34 

Buddhadasa 
341-70 
Upatissa 
370-412 

Mahanam a 
412-434 



King favours Great Monastery; Sang ham itta 
flees to India. 

King protects Sahghamitta, who returns. 
Persecution of Great Monastery; its 
bhikkhus driven from capital for 9 years. 

Sarighamitta assassinated. 

Restoration of Great Monastery 

Vetulya books burnt again. 

Dispute over Great Monastery boundary; 
bhikkhus again absent from Great 
Monastery for 9 months. 

King favours Great Monastery 

Sinhalese monastery established at Buddha 
Gaya in India 

Dlpavaipsa composed in this period. 

Also perhaps Mulnsikkhn and Kliuddnsikkhil 
(Vinaya summaries) and some of 
Buddhadatta Thera's works. 



Bhadantacariya Buddhaghosa arrives in Sri 
Lanka. 

Snmautapiisadikn (Vinaya commentary) begun 
in 20th and finished in 21st year of this 
king's reign. 



Mhv XXXVI.123 
Mhv XXXVII. 1-50 

Mhv XXXVII.27 
EHBC 92 
EHBC 92 
Mhv XXXVII.32 



EHBC 92; 

Mhv XXXVH.51f 

Malalasekera PLC, p.68; 
Epigraphia Zeylanica 
iii, II 

Quoted in Vin-a 



PLC, p.77 



Mhv XXXVn.215-46 



Vin-a Epilogue 



bhikkhus. The violent upsets in his reign followed by his founding of the Abhayagiri 
Monastery its secession and schism, changed the whole situation at home. Sensing 
insecurity, the Great Monastery took the precaution to commit the Tipitaka for the 
first time to writing, doing so in the provinces away from the king's presence. 
Now by about the end of the first century BCE (dates are very vague), with Sanskrit 
Buddhist literature just launching out upon its long era of magnificence, Sanskrit 
was on its way to become a language of international culture. In Sri Lanka the 
Great Monastery, already committed by tradition to strict orthodoxy based on Pali, 
had been confirmed in that attitude by the schism of its rival, which now began 
publicly to study the new ideas from India. In the first century BCE probably the 
influx of Sanskrit thought was still quite small, so that the Great Monastery could 
well maintain its name in Anuradhapura as the principal centre of learning by 
developing its ancient Tipitaka commentaries in Sinhalese. This might account for 
the shift of emphasis from practice to scholarship in King Vattagamani's reign. 
Evidence shows great activity in this latter field throughout the first century BCE, 
and all this material was doubtless written down too. 

In the first century CE, Sanskrit Buddhism ("Hinayana," and perhaps by then 
Mahayana) was growing rapidly and spreading abroad. The Abhayagiri Monastery 
would naturally have been busy studying and advocating some of these weighty 









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Introduction 

developments while the Great Monastery had nothing new to offer: the rival was 
thus able, at some risk, to appear go-ahead and up-to-date while the old institution 
perhaps began to fall behind for want of new material, new inspiration and 
international connections, because its studies being restricted to the orthodox 
presentation in the Sinhalese language, it had already done what it could in 
developing Tipitaka learning (on the mainland Theravada was doubtless deeper 
in the same predicament). Anyway we find that from the first century onwards its 
constructive scholarship dries up, and instead, with the reign of King Bhatika 
Abhaya (BCE 20-CE 9), public wrangles begin to break out between the two 
monasteries. This scene indeed drags on, gradually worsening through the next 
three centuries, almost bare as they are of illuminating information. King Vasabha's 
reign (CE 66-110) seems to be the last mentioned in the Commentaries as we have 
them now, from which it may be assumed that soon afterwards they were closed 
(or no longer kept up), nothing further being added. Perhaps the Great Monastery, 
now living only on its past, was itself getting infected with heresies. But without 
speculating on the immediate reasons that induced it to let its chain of teachers 
lapse and to cease adding to its body of Sinhalese learning, it is enough to note 
that the situation went on deteriorating, further complicated by intrigues, till in 
Mahasena's reign (CE 277-304) things came to a head. 

With the persecution of the Great Monastery given royal assent and the expulsion 
of its bhikkhus from the capital, the Abhayagiri Monastery enjoyed nine years of 
triumph. But the ancient institution rallied its supporters in the southern provinces 
and the king repented. The bhikkhus returned and the king restored the buildings, 
which had been stripped to adorn the rival. Still, the Great Monastery must have 
foreseen, after this affair, that unless it could successfully compete with Sanskrit it 
had small hope of holding its position. With that the only course open was to 
launch a drive for the rehabilitation of Pali — a drive to bring the study of that 
language up to a standard fit to compete with the "modern" Sanskrit in the field 
of international Buddhist culture: by cultivating Pali at home and abroad it could 
assure its position at home. It was a revolutionary project, involving the 
displacement of Sinhalese by Pali as the language for the study and discussion of 
Buddhist teachings, and the founding of a school of Pali literary composition. Earlier 
it would doubtless have been impracticable; but the atmosphere had changed. 
Though various Sanskrit non-Mahayana sects are well known to have continued to 
flourish all over India, there is almost nothing to show the status of the Pali language 
there by now. Only the Mahavamsa [XXXVII. 21 5f. quoted below] suggests that the 
Theravada sect there had not only put aside but lost perhaps all of its old non- 
Pitaka material dating from Asoka's time. 2 One may guess that the pattern of things 
in Sri Lanka only echoed a process that had gone much further in India. But in the 

2. See also A Record of Buddhist Religion by I-tsing, translation by J. Takakusu, Claren 
do Press, 1896, p. xxiii, where a geographical distribution of various schools gives 
Mulasarvastivada mainly in the north and Ariyasthavira mainly in the south of India. 
I-tsing, who did not visit Sri Lanka, was in India at the end of the 7th cent.; but he does 
not mention whether the Ariyasthavira (Theravada) Nikaya in India pursued its studies 
in the Pali of its Tipitaka or in Sanskrit or in a local vernacular. 

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Path of Purification 

island of Sri Lanka the ancient body of learning, much of it pre-Asokan, had been 
kept lying by as it were maturing in its two and a half centuries of neglect, and it 
had now acquired a new and great potential value due to the purity of its pedigree 
in contrast with the welter of new original thinking. Theravada centres of learning 
on the mainland were also doubtless much interested and themselves anxious for 
help in a repristinization. 3 Without such cooperation there was little hope of success. 

It is not known what was the first original Pali composition in this period; but 
the Dlpavamsa (dealing with historical evidence) belongs here (for it ends with 
Mahasena's reign and is quoted in the Samantapasadika) , and quite possibly the 
Vimuttimagga (dealing with practice — see below) was another early attempt by the 
Great Monastery in this period (4th cent.) to reassert its supremacy through original 
Pali literary composition: there will have been others too. 4 Of course, much of this 
is very conjectural. Still it is plain enough that by 400 CE a movement had begun, 
not confined to Sri Lanka, and that the time was ripe for the crucial work, for a Pali 
recension of the Sinhalese Commentaries with their unique tradition. Only the 
right personality, able to handle it competently, was yet lacking. That personality 
appeared in the first quarter of the fifth century. 

THE VlSUDDHlMACCA AND ITS AUTHOR 

Sources of information about that person fall into three groups. There are firstly 
the scraps contained in the prologues and epilogues to the works ascribed to him. 
Then there is the account given in the second part of the Sri Lankan Chronicle, the 
Mahavamsa (or Culavamsa as the part of it is often called), written in about the 13th 
century, describing occurrences placed by it in the 5th century, and, lastly, the still 
later Buddhaghosuppatti (15 th cent.?) and other later works. 

It seems still uncertain how to evaluate the old Talaing records of Burma, which 
may not refer to the same person (see below). India herself tells us nothing at all. 

It seems worthwhile, therefore, to give a rendering here of the principal passage 
from the prologues and epilogues of the works ascribed to him by name; for they 
are few and short, and they have special authentic value as evidence. The Mahavamsa 
account will be reproduced in full, too, since it is held to have been composed from 
evidence and records before its author, and to have the ring of truth behind the 
legends it contains. But the later works (which European scholars hold to be 
legendary rather than historical in what they add to the accounts already 
mentioned) can only be dealt with very summarily here. 

3. In the epilogues and prologues of various works between the 5th and 12th centuries 
there is mention of e.g., Badaratittha (Vism-a prol.: near Chennai), Kancipura (A-a epil.: 
= Conjevaram near Chennai), and other places where different teachers accepting the 
Great Monastery tradition lived and worked. See also Malalasekera, Pali Literature of 
Ceylon, p. 13; E.Z., IV, 69-71; Journal of Oriental Research, Madras, Vol. XIX, pp. 278f. 

4. Possibly the Vinaya summaries, Mulasikkha and Khuddasikkha (though Geiger places 
these much later), as well as some works of Buddhadatta Thera. It has not been 
satisfactorily explained why the Mahavamsa, composed in the late 4th or early 5th cent., 
ends abruptly in the middle of Chapter 37 with Mahasena's reign (the Chronicle being 
only resumed eight centuries later). 

xxxii 

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The books actually ascribed to Bhadantacariya Buddhaghosa have each a 
"postscript" identical in form with that at the end of Chapter XXIII of the present 
work, mentioning the title and author by name. This can be taken to have been 
appended, presumably contemporaneously, by the Great Monastery (the 
Mahavamsa) at Anuradhapura in Sri Lanka as their official seal of approval. Here is 
a list of the works (also listed in the modern Gandhavamsa and Sasanavamsa with 
one or two discrepancies): 5 

Commentaries to the Vinaya Pitaka 

Title Commentary to 

Samantapasadika Vinaya 

Kahkhavitarani Patimokkha 

Commentaries to the Sutta Pitaka 

Title Commentary to 

Sumangalavilasinl Dlgha Nikaya 

Papancasudani Majjhima Nikaya 

Saratthappakasini Samyutta Nikaya 

Manorathapura.nl Ahguttara Nikaya 

Paramatthajotika Khuddakapatha 

Commentary to Suttanipata 

Title Commentary to 

Dhammapadatthakatha Dhammapada 

Jatakatthakatha Jataka 

Commentaries to the Abhidhamma Pitaka 

Title Commentary to 

Atthasalinl Dhammasahganl 

Sammohavinodanl Vibhahga 

Pancappakaranatthakatha Remaining 5 books 

Beyond the bare hint that he came to Sri Lanka from India his actual works tell 
nothing about his origins or background. He mentions "The Elder Buddhamitta 
with whom I formerly lived at Mayura suttapattana" (M-a epil.), 6 and "The well 
known Elder Jotipala, with whom I once lived at Kancipura and elsewhere" (A-a 
epil.). 7 Also the "postscript" attached to the Visuddhimagga says, besides mentioning 
his name, that he "should be called 'of Morandacetaka.'" 8 And that is all. 



5. The Gandhavamsa also gives the Apadana Commentary as by him. 

6. Other readings are: Mayurarupattana, Mayuradutapattana. Identified with 
Mylapore near Chennai (J.O.R., Madras, Vol. XIX, p. 281). 

7. Identified with Conjevaram near Chennai: PLC, p. 113. Acariya Ananda, author of 
the sub-commentary to the Abhidhamma Pitaka (Mttla Tlka), also lived there, perhaps 
any time after the middle of the 5th century. The Elder Dhammapala sometimes refers 
to the old Sinhalese commentaries as if they were still available to him. 

8. Other readings are: Morandakhetaka, Mudantakhedaka, Murandakhetaka, etc.; 
not yet identified. Refers more probably to his birthplace than to his place of pabbajja. 
See also J.O.R., Madras, Vol. XIX, p. 282, article "Buddhaghosa— His Place of Birth" by 

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Path of Purification 

On coming to Sri Lanka, he went to Anuradhapura, the royal capital, and set 
himself to study. He seems to have lived and worked there during the whole of his 
stay in the island, though we do not know how long that stay lasted. To render his 
own words: "I learned three Sinhalese commentaries — the Maha-attha-[katha], 
Mahapaccarl, Kurundi — from the famed elder known by the name of Buddhamitta, 
who has expert knowledge of the Vinaya. Set in the grounds of the Maha Meghavana 
Park [in Anuradhapura] there is the Great Monastery graced by the [sapling from 
the] Master's Enlightenment Tree. A constant supporter of the Community, trusting 
with unwavering faith in the Three Jewels, belonging to an illustrious family and 
known by the name of Mahanigamasami (Lord of the Great City), had an excellent 
work-room built there on its southern side accessible to the ever virtuously 
conducted Community of Bhikkhus. The building was beautifully appointed, 
agreeably endowed with cool shade and had a lavish water supply. The Vinaya 
Commentary was begun by me for the sake of the Elder Buddhasiri of pure virtuous 
behaviour while I was living there in Mahanigamasami's building, and it is now 
complete. It was begun by me in the twentieth year of the reign of peace of the 
King Sirinivasa (Of Glorious Life), the renowned and glorious guardian who has 
kept the whole of Lanka's island free from trouble. It was finished in one year 
without mishap in a world beset by mishaps, so may all beings attain..." (Vin-a 
Epilogue). 

Mostly it is assumed that he wrote and "published" his works one by one as 
authors do today. The assumption may not be correct. There is an unerring 
consistency throughout the system of explanation he adopts, and there are cross- 
references between works. This suggests that while the Visuddhimagga itself may 
perhaps have been composed and produced first, the others as they exist now 
were more likely worked over contemporaneously and all more or less finished 
before any one of them was given out. They may well have been given out then 
following the order of the books in the Tipitaka which they explain. So in that way 
it may be taken that the Vinaya Commentary came next to the Visuddhimagga; then 
the Commentaries on the four Nikayas (Collections of Suttas), and after them the 
Abhidhamma Commentaries. Though it is not said that the Vinaya Commentary 
was given out first of these, still the prologue and epilogue contain the most 
information. The four Nikaya Commentaries all have the same basic prologue; but 
the Samyutta Nikaya Commentary inserts in its prologue a stanza referring the 
reader to "the two previous Collections" (i.e. the Digha and Majjhima Nikayas) for 
explanations of the names of towns and for illustrative stories, while the Ahguttara 



R. Subramaniam and S. E Nainar, where a certain coincidence of names is mentioned 
that might suggest a possible identification of Morandakhetaka (moranda being Pali for 
'peacock egg' and khedaka Skr. for "village" — see Vism Ae ed., p. xv) with adjacent 
villages, 51 miles from Nagarjunakonda and 58 miles from Amaravati, called 
Kotanemalipuri and Gundlapalli (nemali and gundla being Telegu respectively for 
"peacock" and "egg"). However, more specific information will be needed in support 
before it can be accepted as an indication that the Mahavamsa is wrong about his 
birthplace. More information about any connection between Sri Lanka and those great 
South Indian Buddhist centres is badly needed. 






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Introduction 

Nikaya Commentary replaces this stanza with another referring to "the Digha 
and Majjhima" by name for the same purpose. The point may seem laboured and 
even trivial, but it is not irrelevant; for if it is assumed that these works were written 
and "published" in some historical order of composition, one expects to find some 
corresponding development of thought and perhaps discovers what one's 
assumption has projected upon them. The more likely assumption, based on 
consideration of the actual contents, is that their form and content was settled before 
any one of them was given out. 

Sometimes it is argued that the commentaries to the Dhammapada and the 
Jataka may not be by the same author because the style is different. But that fact 
could be accounted for by the difference in the subject matter; for these two 
commentaries consist mainly of popular stories, which play only a very minor role 
in the other works. Besides, while this author is quite inexorably consistent 
throughout his works in his explanations of Dhamma, he by no means always 
maintains that consistency in different versions of the same story in, say, different 
Nikaya Commentaries (compare for instance, the version of the story of Elder 
Tissabhuti given in the commentary to AN 1:2.6, with that at M-a I 66; also the 
version of the story of the Elder Maha Tissa in the A-a, same ref., with that at M-a 
1 185). Perhaps less need for strictness was felt with such story material. And there 
is also another possibility. It may not unreasonably be supposed that he did not 
work alone, without help, and that he had competent assistants. If so, he might 
well have delegated the drafting of the Khuddaka Nikaya commentaries — those 
of the Khuddakapatha and Suttanipata, Dhammapada, and the Jataka — or part of 
them, supervising and completing them himself, after which the official "postscript" 
was appended. This assumption seems not implausible and involves less difficulties 
than its alternatives. 9 These secondary commentaries may well have been composed 
after the others. 

The full early history of the Pali Tipitaka and its commentaries in Sinhalese is 
given in the Sri Lanka Chronicle, the Dlpavarnsa, and Mahavamsa, and also in the 
introduction to the Vinaya Commentary. In the prologue to each of the four Nikaya 
Commentaries it is conveniently summarized by Bhadantacariya Buddhaghosa 
himself as follows: "[I shall now take] the commentary, whose object is to clarify 
the meaning of the subtle and most excellent Long Collection (Digha Nikaya) . . . 
set forth in detail by the Buddha and by his like [i.e. the Elder Sariputta and other 
expounders of discourses in the Sutta Pitaka] — the commentary that in the 
beginning was chanted [at the First Council] and later re-chanted [at the Second 
and Third], and was brought to the Sihala Island (Sri Lanka) by the Arahant 
Mahinda the Great and rendered into the Sihala tongue for the benefit of the 
islanders — and from that commentary I shall remove the Sihala tongue, replacing 
it by the graceful language that conforms with Scripture and is purified and free 
from flaws. Not diverging from the standpoint of the elders residing in the Great 
Monastery [in Anuradhapura], who illumine the elders' heritage and are all well 



9. A definite statement that the Dhp-a was written later by someone else can hardly 
avoid the inference that the "postscript" was a fraud, or at least misleading. 



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Path of Purification 

versed in exposition, and rejecting subject matter needlessly repeated, I shall make 
the meaning clear for the purpose of bringing contentment to good people and 
contributing to the long endurance of the Dhamma." 

There are references in these works to "the Ancients" (porana) or "Former 
Teachers" (pubbacariya) as well as to a number of Sinhalese commentaries additional 
to the three referred to in the quotation given earlier. The fact is plain enough that 
a complete body of commentary had been built up during the nine centuries or so 
that separate Bhadantacariya Buddhaghosa from the Buddha. A good proportion 
of it dated no doubt from the actual time of the Buddha himself, and this core had 
been added to in India (probably in Pali), and later by learned elders in Sri Lanka 
(in Sinhalese) as references to their pronouncements show (e.g. XII. 105 and 117). 

This body of material — one may guess that its volume was enormous — 
Bhadantacariya Buddhaghosa set himself to edit and render into Pali (the Tipitaka 
itself had been left in the original Pali). For this he had approval and express 
invitation (see, e.g., the epilogue to the present work, which the Elder Sarighapala 
invited him to compose). Modern critics have reproached him with lack of 
originality: but if we are to judge by his declared aims, originality, or to use his 
own phrase "advertising his own standpoint" (XVII. 25), seems likely to have been 
one of the things he would have wished to avoid. He says, for instance, "I shall 
expound the comforting Path of Purification, pure in expositions, relying on the 
teaching of the dwellers in the Great Monastery" (1.4; see also epilogue), and again 
"Now, as to the entire trustworthiness (samantapasadikatta) of this Samantapasadika: 
the wise see nothing untrustworthy here when they look — in the chain of teachers, 
in the citations of circumstance, instance and category [in each case], in the avoidance 
of others' standpoints, in the purity of [our] own standpoint, in the correctness of 
details, in the word-meanings, in the order of construing the text, in the exposition 
of the training precepts, in the use of classification by the analytical method — 
which is why this detailed commentary on the Vinaya ... is called Samantapasadika 
(Vin-a epilogue). And then: "The commentary on the Patimokkha, which I began 
at the request of the Elder Sona for the purpose of removing doubts in those 
uncertain of the Vinaya, and which covers the whole Sinhalese commentarial system 
based upon the arrangement adopted by the dwellers in the Great Monastery, is 
finished. The whole essence of the commentary and the entire meaning of the text 
has been extracted and there is no sentence here that might conflict with the text 
or with the commentaries of the dwellers in the Great Monastery or those of the 
Ancients" (Patimokkha Commentary epilogue). Such examples could be multiplied 
(see especially also XVII. 25). 

There is only one instance in the Visuddhimagga where he openly advances 
an opinion of his own, with the words "our preference here is this" (XIII. 123). 
He does so once in the Majjhima Nikaya Commentary, too, saying "the point is 
not dealt with by the Ancients, but this is my opinion" (M-a I 28). The rarity of 
such instances and the caution expressed in them imply that he himself was 
disinclined to speculate and felt the need to point the fact out when he did. He 
actually says "one's own opinion is the weakest authority of all and should 
only be accepted if it accords with the Suttas" (D-a 567-68). So it is likely that 



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Introduction 

he regarded what we should call original thinking as the province of the Buddha, 
and his own task as the fortification of that thought by coordinating the 
explanations of it. However, not every detail that he edited can claim direct 
support in the Suttas. 

The following considerations lend some support to the assumptions just made. 
It has been pointed out 10 that in describing in the Vinaya Commentary how the 
tradition had been "maintained up to the present day by the chain of teachers and 
pupils" (Vin-a 61-62) the list of teachers' names that follows contains names only 
traceable down to about the middle of the 2 nd century CE, but not later. Again, 
there appear in his works numbers of illustrative stories, all of which are set either 
in India or Sri Lanka. However, no single one of them can be pointed to as 
contemporary. Stories about India in every case where a date can be assigned are 
not later than Asoka (3 rd cent. BCE). Many stories about Sri Lanka cannot be dated, 
but of those that can none seems later than the 2 nd century CE. This suggests that 
the material which he had before him to edit and translate had been already 
completed and fixed more than two centuries earlier in Sri Lanka, and that the 
words "present day" were not used by him to refer to his own time, but were 
already in the material he was coordinating. This final fixing, if it is a fact, might 
have been the aftermath of the decision taken in Sri Lanka in the first century BCE 
to commit the Pali Tipitaka to writing. 

Something now needs to be said about the relation of the Visuddhimagga to 
the other books. This author's work is characterized by relentless accuracy, 
consistency, and fluency of erudition, and much dominated by formalism. Not 
only is this formalism evident in the elaborate pattern of the Visuddhimagga but 
also that work's relationship to the others is governed by it. The Visuddhimagga 
itself extracts from the Tipitaka all the central doctrines that pivot upon the 
Four Noble Truths, presenting them as a coherent systematic whole by way of 
quotation and explanation interspersed with treatises on subjects of more or 
less relative importance, all being welded into an intricate edifice. The work 
can thus stand alone. But the aim of the commentaries to the four main Nikayas 
or Collections of Suttas is to explain the subject matter of individual discourses 
and, as well, certain topics and special doctrines not dealt with in the 
Visuddhimagga (many passages commenting on identical material in the Suttas 
in different Nikayas are reproduced verbatim in each commentary, and 
elsewhere, e.g., MN 10, cf. DN 22, Satipatthana Vibhahga, etc., etc., and 
respective commentaries). But these commentaries always refer the reader to 
the Visuddhimagga for explanations of the central doctrines. And though the 
Vinaya and Abhidhamma (commentaries are less closely bound to the 
Visuddhimagga, still they too either refer the reader to it or reproduce large 
blocks of it. The author himself says: "The treatises on virtue and on the ascetic's 
rules, all the meditation subjects, the details of the attainments of the jhanas, 
together with the directions for each temperament, all the various kinds of 
direct-knowledge, the exposition of the definition of understanding, the 
aggregates, elements, bases, and faculties, the Four Noble Truths, the explanation 

10. Adikaram, Early History of Buddhism in Ceylon, pp. 3 and 86. 

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Path of Purification 

of the structure of conditions (dependent origination), and lastly the 
development of insight, by methods that are purified and sure and not divergent 
from Scripture — since these things have already been quite clearly stated in 
the Visuddhimagga I shall no more dwell upon them here; for the Visuddhimagga 
stands between and in the midst of all four Collections (Nikayas) and will clarify 
the meaning of such things stated therein. It was made in that way: take it 
therefore along with this same commentary and know the meaning of the Long 
Collection (Digha Nikaya)" (prologue to the four Nikayas). 

This is all that can, without unsafe inferences, be gleaned of Bhadantacariya 
Buddhaghosa himself from his own works (but see below). Now, there is the 
Mahavarnsa account. The composition of the second part (often called Culavamsa) 
of that historical poem is attributed to an Elder Dhammakitti, who lived in or 
about the thirteenth century. Here is a translation of the relevant passage: 

"There was a Brahman student who was born near the site of the 
Enlightenment Tree. He was acquainted with the arts and accomplishments 
of the sciences and was qualified in the Vedas. He was well versed in what he 
knew and unhesitant over any phrase. Being interested in doctrines, he 
wandered over Jambudipa (India) engaging in disputation. 

"He came to a certain monastery, and there in the night he recited 
Patanjali's system with each phrase complete and well rounded. The senior 
elder there, Revata by name, recognized, 'This is a being of great 
understanding who ought to be tamed.' He said, 'Who is that braying the 
ass's bray?' The other asked, 'What, then, do you know the meaning of the 
ass's bray?' The elder answered, 1 know it,' and he then not only expounded 
it himself, but explained each statement in the proper way and also pointed 
out contradictions. The other then urged him, 'Now expound your own 
doctrine,' and the elder repeated a text from the Abhidhamma, but the visitor 
could not solve its meaning. He asked, 'Whose system is this?' and the elder 
replied, 'It is the Enlightened One's system.' 'Give it to me,' he said, but the 
elder answered, 'You will have to take the going forth into homelessness.' So 
he took the going forth, since he was interested in the system, and he learned 
the three Pitakas, after which he believed, 'This is the only way' (M I 55). 
Because his speech (ghosa) was profound (voice was deep) like that of the 
Enlightened One (Buddha) they called him Buddhaghosa, so that like the 
Enlightened One he might be voiced over the surface of the earth. 

"He prepared a treatise there called Nanodaya, and then the Atthasalinl, a 
commentary on the Dhammasahgani. Next he began work on a commentary 
to the Partita} 1 When the Elder Revata saw that, he said, 'Here only the text 
has been preserved. There is no commentary here, and likewise no Teachers' 
Doctrine; for that has been allowed to go to pieces and is no longer known. 
However, a Sinhalese commentary still exists, which is pure. It was rendered 
into the Sinhalese tongue by the learned Mahinda with proper regard for the 



11. Partita or "protection": a name for certain suttas recited for that purpose. See 
M-aIV114. 






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Introduction 

way of commenting that was handed down by the three Councils as taught 
by the Enlightened One and inculcated by Sariputta and others. Go there, 
and after you have learnt it translate it into the language of the Magadhans. 
That will bring benefit to the whole world.' As soon as this was said, he 
made up his mind to set out. 

"He came from there to this island in the reign of this king (Mahanama). He 
came to the (Great Monastery, the monastery of all true men. There he stayed in 
a large workroom, and he learnt the whole Sinhalese Commentary of the Elders' 
Doctrine (theravada) under Sarighapala. 12 He decided, 'This alone is the intention 
of the Dhamma's Lord.' So he assembled the Community there and asked, 'Give 
me all the books to make a commentary' Then in order to test him the Community 
gave him two stanzas, saying 'Show your ability with these; when we have seen 
that you have it, we will give you all the books.' On that text alone he summarized 
the three Pitakas together with the Commentary as an epitome, which was named 
the Path of Purification (Visuddhimagga). Then, in the precincts of the (sapling of 
the) Enlightenment Tree (in Anuradhapura), he assembled the Community expert 
in the Fully Enlightened One's system, and he began to read it out. In order to 
demonstrate his skill to the multitude deities hid the book, and he was obliged 
to prepare it a second time, and again a third time. When the book was brought 
for the third time to be read out, the gods replaced the other two copies with it. 
Then the bhikkhus read out the three copies together, and it was found that 
there was no difference between the three in either the chapters or the meaning 
or the order of the material or the phrases and syllables of the Theravada texts. 
With that the Community applauded in high delight and again and again it was 
said, 'Surely this is (the Bodhisatta) Metteyya.' "They gave him the books of the 
three Pitakas together with the Commentary Then, while staying undisturbed 
in the Library Monastery, he translated the Sinhalese Commentary into the 
Magadhan language, the root-speech of all, by which he brought benefit to beings 
of all tongues. The teachers of the Elders' Tradition accepted it as equal in 
authority with the texts themselves. Then, when the tasks to be done were finished, 
he went back to Jambudipa to pay homage to the Great Enlightenment Tree. 

"And when Mahanama had enjoyed twenty-two years' reign upon earth 
and had performed a variety of meritorious works, he passed on according 
to his deeds"— (Mhv XXXVII.215-47). 

King Mahanama is identified with the "King Sirinivasa" and the "King 
Sirikudda" mentioned respectively in the epilogues to the Vinaya and 
Dhammapada Commentaries. There is no trace, and no other mention anywhere, 
of the Nanodaya. The Atthasalinl described as composed in India could not be the 
version extant today, which cites the Sri Lankan Commentaries and refers to the 
Visuddhimagga; it will have been revised later. 

The prologues and epilogues of this author's works are the only instances in 
which we can be sure that he is speaking of his own experience and not only simply 
editing; and while they point only to his residence in South India, they neither 

12. See Vism epilogue. 

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Path of Purification 

confute nor confirm the Mahavamsa statement than he was born in Magadha (see 
note 8). The Sri Lankan Chronicles survived the historical criticism to which they 
were subjected in the last hundred years. The independent evidence that could be 
brought to bear supported them, and Western scholars ended by pronouncing them 
reliable in essentials. The account just quoted is considered to be based on historical 
fact even if it contains legendary matter. 

It is not possible to make use of the body of Bhadantacariya Buddhaghosa's 
works to test the Mahavamsa 's claim that he was a learned Brahman from central 
India, and so on. It has been shown already how the presumption is always, where 
the contrary is not explicitly stated, that he is editing and translating material placed 
before him rather than displaying his own private knowledge, experience and 
opinions. And so it would be a critical mistake to use any such passage in his work 
for assessing his personal traits; for in them it is, pretty certainly, not him we are 
dealing with at all but people who lived three or more centuries earlier. Those 
passages probably tell us merely that he was a scrupulously accurate and 
conscientious editor. His geographical descriptions are translations, not eyewitness 
accounts. Then such a sutta passage as that commented on in Chapter I, 86-97 of 
the present work, which is a part of a sutta used by bhikkhus for daily reflection 
on the four requisites of the life of a bhikkhu, is certain to have been fully commented 
on from the earliest times, so that it would be just such a critical mistake to infer 
from this comment anything about his abilities as an original commentator, or 
anything else of a personal nature about him or his own past experience." And 
again, the controversial subject of the origin of the Brahman caste (see M-a II 418) 
must have been fully explained from the Buddhist standpoint from the very start. 
If then that account disagrees with Brahmanical lore — and it would be odd, all 
things considered, if it did not — there is no justification for concluding on those 
grounds that the author of the Visuddhimagga was not of Brahman origin and that 
the Mahavamsa is wrong. What does indeed seem improbable is that the authorities 
of the Great Monastery, resolutely committed to oppose unorthodoxy would have 
given him a free hand to "correct" their traditions to accord with Brahmanical 
texts or with other alien sources, even if he had so wished. Again, the fact that 
there are allusions to extraneous, non-Buddhist literature (e.g. VII. 58; XVI.4 n.2; 
XVI. 85, etc.) hardly affects this issue because they too can have been already in the 

13. For instance, Prof. Kosambi, in his preface to the Visuddhimagga, Harvard ed., 
overlooks these considerations when he says: "More positive evidence (that he was not 
a North-Indian Brahman) is in the passage 'Unhassa ti aggisantapassa. Tassa vanadahadisu 
sambhavo veditabbo' (1.86). 'Heat: the heat of fire, such as occurs at the time of forest 
fires, etc.'" This is a comment upon protection against heat given by a clvara. His 
explanation is obviously ridiculous: "It is not known to Indian southerners that a bare 
skin is sure to be sunburnt in the northern summer" (p. xii). And Professor Kosambi 
has not only overlooked the fact that it is almost certainly translated material that he is 
criticizing as original composition, but he appears not to have even read the whole 
passage. The sutta sentence (M I 10) commented on in the Visuddhimagga (1.86-87) 
contains two words unha and atapa. If, before condemning the explanation as 
"ridiculous," he had read on, he would have found, a line or two below, the words 
Atapo ti suriyatapo ("'Burning' is burning of the sun" — 1.87). 

xl f[ 

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Introduction 

material he was editing or supplied to him by the elders with whom he was working. 
What might repay careful study are perhaps those things, such as certain Mahayana 
teachings and names, as well as much Brahmanical philosophy, which he ignores 
though he must have known about them. This ignoring cannot safely be ascribed 
to ignorance unless we are sure it was not dictated by policy; and we are not sure 
at all. His silences (in contrast to the author of the Paramatthamanjusa) are sometimes 
notable in this respect. 

The "popular novel" called Buddhaghosuppatti, which was composed in Burma by 
an elder called Mahamahgala, perhaps as early as the 15th century, is less dependable. 
But a survey without some account of it would be incomplete. So here is a precis: 

Near the Bodhi Tree at Gaya there was a town called Ghosa. Its ruler had a 
Brahman chaplain called Kesi married to a wife called Kesini. An elder bhikkhu, 
who was a friend of Kesi, used to wonder, when the Buddha's teaching was recited 
in Sinhalese, and people did not therefore understand it, who would be able to 
translate it into Magadhan (Pali). He saw that there was the son of a deity living in 
the Tavatimsa heaven, whose name was Ghosa and who was capable of doing it. 
This deity was persuaded to be reborn in the human world as the son of the Brahman 
Kesi. He learnt the Vedas. One day he sat down in a place sacred to Vishnu and ate 
peas. Brahmans angrily rebuked him, but he uttered a stanza, "The pea itself is 
Vishnu; who is there called Vishnu? And how shall I know which is Vishnu?" and 
no one could answer him. Then one day while Kesi was instructing the town's 
ruler in the Vedas a certain passage puzzled him, but Ghosa wrote down the 
explanations on a palm leaf, which was found later by his father — (Chapter I). 

Once when the elder bhikkhu was invited to Kesi's house for a meal Ghosa's 
mat was given to him to sit on. Ghosa was furious and abused the elder. Then he 
asked him if he knew the Vedas and any other system. The elder gave a recitation 
from the Vedas. Then Ghosa asked him for his own system, whereupon the elder 
expounded the first triad of the Abhidhamma schedule, on profitable, unprofitable, 
and indeterminate thought-arisings. Ghosa asked whose the system was. He was 
told that it was the Buddha's and that it could only be learnt after becoming a 
bhikkhu. He accordingly went forth into homelessness as a bhikkhu, and in one 
month he learned the three Pitakas. After receiving the full admission he acquired 
the four discriminations. The name given to him was Buddhaghosa — (Chapter II). 

One day the question arose in his mind: "Who has more understanding of the 
Buddha-word, I or my preceptor?" His preceptor, whose cankers were exhausted, 
read the thought in his mind and rebuked him, telling him to ask his forgiveness. 
The pupil was then very afraid, and after asking for forgiveness, he was told that in 
order to make amends he must go to Sri Lanka and translate the Buddha-word 
(sic) from Sinhalese into Magadhan. He agreed, but asked that he might first be 
allowed to convert his father from the Brahman religion to the Buddha's teaching. 
In order to achieve this he had a brick apartment fitted with locks and furnished 
with food and water. He set a contrivance so that when his father went inside he 
was trapped. He then preached to his father on the virtues of the Buddha, and on 
the pains of hell resulting from wrong belief. After three days his father was 
converted, and he took the Three Refuges. The son then opened the door and made 



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opened the door and made amends to his father with flowers and such things 
for the offence done to him. Kesi became a stream-enterer — (Chapter III). 

This done, he set sail in a ship for Sri Lanka. The Mahathera Buddhadatta 14 
had set sail that day from Sri Lanka for India. The two ships met by the 
intervention of Sakka Ruler of Gods. When the two elders saw each other, the 
Elder Buddhaghosa told the other: "The Buddha's Dispensation has been put 
into Sinhalese; I shall go and translate it and put it into Magadhan." The other 
said, "I was sent to go and translate the Buddha-word and write it in Magadhan. 
I have only done the Jinalafikara, the Dantavamsa, the Dhatuvamsa and the 
Bodhivamsa, not the commentaries and the sub-commentaries (tlka). If you, sir, 
are translating the Dispensation from Sinhalese into Magadhan, do the 
commentaries to the Three Pitakas." Then praising the Elder Buddhaghosa, he 
gave him the gall-nut, the iron stylus, and the stone given him by Sakka Ruler of 
Gods, adding, "If you have eye trouble or backache, rub the gall-nut on the stone 
and wet the place that hurts; then your ailment will vanish." Then he recited a 
stanza from his Jinalankara. The other said, "Venerable sir, your book is written 
in very ornate style. Future clansmen will not be able to follow its meaning. It is 
hard for simple people to understand it." — "Friend Buddhaghosa, I went to Sri 
Lanka before you to work on the Blessed One's Dispensation. But I have little 
time before me and shall not live long. So I cannot do it. Do it therefore yourself, 
and do it well." Then the two ships separated. Soon after they had completed 
their voyages the Elder Buddhadatta died and was reborn in the Tusita heaven — 
(Chapter IV). 

The Elder Buddhaghosa stayed near the port of Dvijathana in Sri Lanka. 
While there he saw one woman water-carrier accidentally break another's jar, 
which led to a violent quarrel between them with foul abuse. Knowing that he 
might be called as a witness, he wrote down what they said in a book. When the 
case came before the king, the elder was cited as a witness. He sent his notebook, 
which decided the case. The king then asked to see him — (Chapter V). 

After this the elder went to pay homage to the Sangharaja, 15 the senior elder of 
Sri Lanka. One day while the senior elder was teaching bhikkhus he came upon a 
difficult point of Abhidhamma that he could not explain. The Elder Buddhaghosa 
knew its meaning and wrote it on a board after the senior elder had left. Next day 
it was discovered and then the senior elder suggested that he should teach the 
Order of Bhikkhus. The reply was: "I have come to translate the Buddha's 
Dispensation into Magadhan." The senior elder told him, "If so, then construe the 
Three Pitakas upon the text beginning, 'When a wise man, established well in 
virtue...'" He began the work that day, the stars being favourable, and wrote very 
quickly. When finished, he put it aside and went to sleep. Meanwhile Sakka, Ruler 
of Gods, abstracted the book. The elder awoke, and missing it, he wrote another 
copy very fast by lamplight then he put it aside and slept. Sakka abstracted that 

14. The allusion is to the author of various Pali works including the Abhidhammavatara; 
see n. 4. 

15. Sangharaja ("Ruler of the Community" — a title existing in Thailand today): possibly 
a mistake for Sarighapala here (see Vis. epil.). 

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too. The elder awoke, and not seeing his book, he wrote a third copy very fast by 
lamplight and wrapped it in his robe. Then he slept again. While he was asleep 
Sakka put the other two books beside him, and when he awoke he found all three 
copies. He took them to the senior elder and told him what had happened. When 
they were read over there was no difference even in a single letter. Thereupon the 
senior elder gave permission for the translating of the Buddha's Dispensation. From 
then on the elder was known to the people of Sri Lanka by the name of 
Buddhaghosa — (Chapter VI). 

He was given apartments in the Brazen Palace, of whose seven floors he occupied 
the lowest. He observed the ascetic practices and was expert in all the scriptures. It 
was during his stay there that he translated the Buddha's Dispensation. When on 
his alms round he saw fallen palm leaves he would pick them up; this was a duty 
undertaken by him. One day a man who had climbed a palm tree saw him. He left 
some palm leaves on the ground, watched him pick them up, and then followed 
him. Afterwards he brought him a gift of food. The elder concluded his writing of 
the Dispensation in three months. When the rainy season was over and he had 
completed the Pavarana ceremony, he consigned the books to the senior elder, the 
Sahgharaja. Then the Elder Buddhaghosa had the books written by Elder Mahinda 
piled up and burnt near the Great Shrine; the pile was as high as seven elephants. 
Now that this work was done, and wanting to see his parents, he took his leave 
before going back to India. Before he left, however, his knowledge of Sanskrit was 
queried by bhikkhus; but he silenced this by delivering a sermon in the language 
by the Great Shrine. Then he departed — (Chapter VIII). 

On his return he went to his preceptor and cleared himself of his penance. His 
parents too forgave him his offences; and when they died they were reborn in the 
Tusita heaven. He himself, knowing that he would not live much longer, paid 
homage to his preceptor and went to the Great Enlightenment Tree. Foreseeing his 
approaching death, he considered thus: "There are three kinds of death: death as 
cutting off, momentary death, and conventional death. Death as cutting off belongs 
to those whose cankers are exhausted (and are Arahants). Momentary death is 
that of each consciousness of the cognitive series beginning with life-continuum 
consciousness, which arise each immediately on the cessation of the one preceding. 
Conventional death is that of all (so-called) living beings. 16 Mine will be conventional 
death. " After his death he was reborn in the Tusita heaven in a golden mansion 
seven leagues broad surrounded with divine nymphs. When the Bodhisatta 
Metteyya comes to this human world, he will be his disciple. After his cremation 
his relics were deposited near the Enlightenment Tree and shrines erected over 
them— (Chapter VIII). 

It has already been remarked that the general opinion of European scholars is 
that where this imaginative tale differs from, or adds to, the Mahavamsa's account 
it is in legend rather than history. 

Finally there is the question of the Talaing Chronicles of Burma, which mention 
an elder named Buddhaghosa, of brahman stock, who went from Thaton (the 

16. A learned allusion to VIII. 1. 

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(the ancient Buddhist stronghold in the Ramannadesa of Burma) to Sri Lanka 
(perhaps via India) to translate the Buddha-word into Talaing and bring it 
back. It is hard to evaluate this tradition on the evidence available; but according 
to the opinion of the more reliable Western scholars another elder of the same 
name is involved here. 17 

What can be said of the Visuddhimagga's author without venturing into 
unfounded speculation is now exhausted, at least in so far as the restricted scope 
of this introduction permits. The facts are tantalizingly few. Indeed this, like many 
scenes in Indian history, has something of the enigmatic transparencies and 
uncommunicative shadows of a moonlit landscape — at the same time inescapable 
and ungraspable. 

Some answer has, however, been furnished to the two questions: why did he 
come to Sri Lanka? And why did his work become famous beyond its shores? 
Trends such as have been outlined, working not quite parallel on the Theravada of 
India and Sri Lanka, had evolved a situation favouring a rehabilitation of Pali, and 
consequently the question was already one of interest not only to Sri Lanka, where 
the old material was preserved. Again the author possessed outstandingly just 
those personal qualities most fitted to the need — accuracy, an indefatigable mental 
orderliness, and insight able to crystallize the vast, unwieldy, accumulated exegesis 
of the Tipitaka into a coherent workable whole with a dignified vigorous style, 
respect for authenticity and dislike of speculation, and (in the circumstances not at 
all paradoxically) preference for self-effacement. The impetus given by him to Pali 
scholarship left an indelible mark on the centuries that followed, enabling it to 
survive from then on the Sanskrit siege as well as the continuing schism and the 
political difficulties and disasters that harassed Sri Lanka before the "Second 
Renascence." A long epoch of culture stems from him. His successors in the Great 
Monastery tradition continued to write in various centres in South India till the 
12 th century or so, while his own works spread to Burma and beyond. Today in Sri 
Lanka and South East Asia his authority is as weighty as it ever was and his name 
is venerated as before. 

The Vimuttimagga 

Besides the books in Sinhala Bhadantacariya Buddhaghosa names as available to 
him (which have all disappeared) there was also a manual (existing now only in a 
Chinese translation of the 6th century CE), presumed to have been written in Pali. 
Bhadantacariya Buddhaghosa himself makes no mention of it; but his commentator, 
Bhadantacariya Dhammapala (writing perhaps within two centuries of him), 
mentions it by name (see Ch. Ill, n.19). The Visuddhimagga refutes a certain method 
of classifying temperaments as unsound. The Elder Dhammapala ascribes the 
theory refuted to the Vimuttimagga. The theory refuted is actually found in the 
Chinese version. Then other points rejected by the Visuddhimagga are found in the 

17. Hastings' Encyclopaedia of Religion, article "Buddhaghosa" by T. W. Rhys Davids. 
Note also that another elder of the same name invited the writing of the 
Sammohavinodanl. The problem is discussed at some length by Prof. Niharranjan Ray, 
Theravada Buddhism in Burma, pp. 24ff. 

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Vimuttimagga. Some of these are attributed by the Elder Dhammapala to the 
Abhayagiri Monastery. However, the Vimuttimagga itself contains nothing at all 
of the Mahayana, its unorthodoxies being well within the "Hinayana" field. 

The book is much shorter than the Visuddhimagga. Though set out in the same 
three general divisions of virtue, concentration, and understanding, it does not 
superimpose the pattern of the seven purifications. Proportionately much less space 
is devoted to understanding, and there are no stories. Though the appearance in 
both books of numbers of nearly identical passages suggests that they both drew a 
good deal from the same sources, the general style differs widely. The four 
measureless states and the four immaterial states are handled differently in the 
two books. Besides the "material octads," "enneads" and "decads," it mentions 
"endecads," etc., too. Its description of the thirteen ascetic practices is quite different. 
Also Abhidhamma, which is the keystone of Bhadantacariya Buddhaghosa's exegesis, 
is not used at all in the Vimuttimagga (aggregates, truths, etc., do not in themselves 
constitute Abhidhamma in the sense of that Pitaka). There is for instance even in its 
description of the consciousness aggregate, no reference to the Dhammasangani's 
classification of 89 types, and nothing from the Patthana; and though the cognitive 
series is stated once in its full form (in Ch. 11) no use is made of it to explain conscious 
workings. This Vimuttimagga is in fact a book of practical instructions, not of exegesis. 

Its authorship is ascribed to an Elder Upatissa. But the mere coincidence of 
names is insufficient to identify him with the Arahant Upatissa (prior to 3 rd cent. 
CE) mentioned in the Vinaya Parivara. A plausible theory puts its composition 
sometime before the Visuddhimagga, possibly in India. That is quite compatible 
with its being a product of the Great Monastery before the Visuddhimagga was 
written, though again evidence is needed to support the hypothesis. That it contains 
some minor points accepted by the Abhayagiri Monastery does not necessarily 
imply that it had any special connections with that centre. The source may have 
been common to both. The disputed points are not schismatical. Bhadantacariya 
Buddhaghosa himself never mentions it. 

Trends in the Development of Theravada Doctrine 

The doctrines (Dhamma) of the Theravada Pali tradition can be conveniently traced 
in three main layers. (1) The first of these contains the main books of the Pali Sutta 
Pitakas. (2) The second is the Abhidhamma Pitaka, notably the closely related books, 
the Dhammasahgam, Vibhahga, Patthana. (3) The third is the system which the 
author of the Visuddhimagga completed, or found completed, and which he set 
himself to edit and translate back into Pali (some further minor developments took 
place subsequently, particularly with the 12th century (?) Abhidhammatthasahgaha, 
but they are outside the present scope). The point at issue here is not the much- 
debated historical question of how far the Abhidhamma books (leaving aside the 
Kathavatthu) were contemporary with the Vinaya and Suttas, but rather what 
discernible direction they show in evolution of thought. 

(1) The Suttas being taken as the original exposition of the Buddha's teaching, 
(2) the Abhidhamma Pitaka itself appears as a highly technical and specialized 
systematization, or complementary set of modifications built upon that. Its 



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upon that. Its immediate purpose is, one may say, to describe and pin-point 
mental constituents and characteristics and relate them to their material basis 
and to each other (with the secondary object, perhaps, of providing an efficient 
defence in disputes with heretics and exponents of outsiders' doctrines). Its 
ultimate purpose is to furnish additional techniques for getting rid of 
unjustified assumptions that favour clinging and so obstruct the attainment 
of the extinction of clinging. Various instruments have been forged in it for 
sorting and re-sorting experience expressed as dhammas (see Ch. VII, n.l). 
These instruments are new to the Suttas, though partly traceable to them. 
The principal instruments peculiar to it are three: (a) the strict treatment of 
experience (or the knowable and knowledge, using the words in their widest 
possible sense) in terms of momentary cognizable states (dhamma) and the 
definition of these states, which is done in the Dhammasarigani and Vibhariga; 
(b) the creation of a "schedule" (matika) consisting of a set of triple (tika) and 
double (duka) classifications for sorting these states; and (c) the enumeration 
of twenty-four kinds of conditioning relations (paccaya), which is done in the 
Patthana. The states as defined are thus, as it were, momentary "stills"; the 
structure of relations combines the stills into continuities; the schedule 
classifications indicate the direction of the continuities. 

The three Abhidhamma books already mentioned are the essential basis 
for what later came to be called the "Abhidhamma method": together they 
form an integral whole. The other four books, which may be said to support 
them in various technical fields, need not be discussed here. This, then, is a 
bare outline of what is in fact an enormous maze with many unexplored 
side-turnings. 

(3) The system found in the Commentaries has moved on (perhaps slightly 
diverged) from the strict Abhidhamma Pitaka standpoint. The Suttas offered 
descriptions of discovery; the Abhidhamma map-making; but emphasis now is 
not on discovery, or even on mapping, so much as on consolidating, filling in and 
explaining. The material is worked over for consistency. Among the principal new 
developments here are these. The "cognitive series" (citta-vlthi) in the occurrence 
of the conscious process is organized (see Ch. IV n.13 and Table V) and completed, 
and its association with three different kinds of kamma is laid down. The term 
sabhava ("individual essence," "own-being" or "it-ness," see Ch. VII, n.68) is 
introduced to explain the key word dhamma, thereby submitting that term to 
ontological criticism, while the samaya ("event" or "occasion") of the Dhamm- 
asangani is now termed a khana ("moment"), thus shifting the weight and balance 
a little in the treatment of time. Then there is the specific ascription of the three 
"instants" (khana, too) of arising, presence and dissolution (uppada-tthiti-bhahga) 
to each "moment" (khana), one "material moment" being calculated to last as long 
as sixteen "mental moments" (XX. 24; Dhs-a 60). 18 New to the Pitakas are also the 
rather unwieldy enumeration of concepts (pannatti, see Ch. VIII, n.ll), and the 

18. The legitimateness of the mental moment of "presence" (thiti) as deducible from 
A 1 152 is questioned by Acariya Ananda (Vibh-t), who wrote early in the Middle Period; 
he cites the Yamaka (refs.: II 13-14; and I 216-17) against it. 

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handy defining-formula of word-meaning, characteristic, function, 
manifestation, and proximate cause (locus); also many minor instances such as 
the substitution of the specific "heart-basis" for the Patthana's "material basis 
of mind," the conception of "material octads," etc., the detailed descriptions of 
the thirty-two parts of the body instead of the bare enumeration of the names in 
the Suttas (thirty-one in the four Nikayas and thirty-two in the Khuddakapatha 
and the Patisambhidamagga), and many more. And the word paramattha acquires 
a new and slightly altered currency. The question of how much this process of 
development owes to the post-Mauryan evolution of Sanskrit thought on the 
Indian mainland (either through assimilation or opposition) still remains to be 
explored, like so many others in this field. The object of this sketch is only to 
point to a few landmarks. 

The Paramatthamanjusa 

The notes to this translation contain many quotations from the commentary to 
the Visuddhimagga, called the Paramatthamanjusa or Maha-tlka. It is regarded as 
an authoritative work. The quotations are included both for the light they shed 
on difficult passages in the Visuddhimagga and for the sake o'f rendering for the 
first time some of the essays interspersed in it. The prologue and epilogue give 
its author as an elder named Dhammapala, who lived at Badaratittha (identified 
as near Chennai). This author, himself also an Indian, is usually held to have 
lived within two centuries or so of Bhadantacariya Buddhaghosa. There is 
nothing to say that he ever came to Sri Lanka. 

The Visuddhimagga quotes freely from the Patisambhidamagga, the 
commentary to which was written by an elder named Mahanama (date in the 
Middle Period and place of residence uncertain). Mostly but not quite always, 
the Elder Dhammapala says the same thing, when commenting on these quoted 
passages, as the Elder Mahanama but in more words. 19 He relies much on 
syllogisms and logical arguments. Also there are several discussions of some of 
the systems of the "Six Schools" of Brahmanical philosophy. There are no stories. 
This academic writer is difficult, formalistic, and often involved, very careful 
and accurate. Various other works are attributed to him. 



19. The Elder Dhammapala, commenting on Vism XXI. 77, takes the reading 
phutthantam sacchikato and explains that (cf. Mula Tika, Pug-t 32), but the Elder 
Mahanama, commenting on the Patisambhidamagga from which the passage is quoted, 
takes the reading phutthatta sacchikato and comments differently (Patis-a 396, 
Hewavitarne ed.). Again, what is referred to as "said by some (keci)" in the Elder 
Dhammapala's comment on the Visuddhimagga (see Vism VIII, n.46) is put forward by 
the Elder Mahanama with no such reservation (Patis-a 351). It is the usual standard of 
strict consistency that makes such very minor divergences noticeable. These two 
commentators, though, rarely reproduce each other verbatim. Contrastingly, where the 
Paramatthamanjusa and the Mulatlka similarly overlap, the sentences are mostly verbatim, 
but the former, with extra material, looks like an expanded version of the latter, or the 
latter a cut version of the former. 



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Some Main Threads in the Visuddhimagga 

The Visuddhimagga is probably best regarded as a detailed manual for meditation 
masters, and as a work of reference. As to its rather intricate construction, the List 
of Contents is given rather fully in order to serve as a guide to the often 
complicated form of the chapters and to the work as a whole. In addition, the 
following considerations may be noted. 

Chapters I and II, which deal with virtue as the practice of restraint, or 
withdrawal, need present no difficulties. It can be remarked here, though, that 
when the Buddhist ascetic goes into seclusion (restrains the sense doors), it would 
be incorrect to say of him that he "leaves the world"; for where a man is, there is his 
world (loka), as appears in the discourse quoted in VII. 36 (cf. also S IV 116 as well 
as many other suttas on the same subject). So when he retreats from the clamour 
of society to the woods and rocks, he takes his world with him, as though 
withdrawing to his laboratory, in order to better analyze it. 

Chapters III to XI describe the process of concentration and give directions for 
attaining it by means of a choice of forty meditation subjects for developing 
concentration. The account of each single meditation subject as given here is 
incomplete unless taken in conjunction with the whole of Part III (Understanding), 
which applies to all. Concentration is training in intensity and depth of focus and 
in single-mindedness. While Buddhism makes no exclusive claim to teach jhana 
concentration (samatha = samadhi), it does claim that the development of insight 
(vipassana) culminating in penetration of the Four Noble Truths is peculiar to it. 
The two have to be coupled together in order to attain the Truths 20 and the end of 
suffering. Insight is initially training to see experience as it occurs, without 
misperception, invalid assumptions, or wrong inferences. 

Chapters XII and XIII describe the rewards of concentration fully developed 
without insight. 

Chapters XIV to XVII on understanding are entirely theoretical. Experience in 
general is dissected, and the separated components are described and grouped in 
several alternative patterns in Chapters XIV to XVI. 1-12. The rest of Chapter XVI 
expounds the Four Noble Truths, the centre of the Buddha's teaching. After that, 
dependent origination, or the structure of conditionality is dealt with in its aspect 
of arising, or the process of being (Ch. XVII; as cessation, or Nibbana, it is dealt with 
separately in Chapters XVI and XIX). The formula of dependent origination in its 
varying modes describes the working economics of the first two truths (suffering 
as outcome of craving, and craving itself — see also Ch. XVII, n.48). Without an 
understanding of conditionality the Buddha's teaching cannot be grasped: "He 
who sees dependent origination sees the Dhamma" (M 1 191), though not all details 
in this work are always necessary. Since the detailed part of this chapter is very 
elaborate (§58-272), a first reading confined to §1-6, §20-57, and §273-314, might 
help to avoid losing the thread. These four chapters are "theoretical" because they 
contain in detailed form what needs to be learnt, if only in outline, as "book-learning" 



20. See A II 56; Patis II 92f. 

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Introduction 

(sotavadhana-hana). They furnish techniques for describing the total experience and 
the experienceable rather as the branches of arithmetic and double-entry bookkeeping 
are to be learned as techniques for keeping accurate business accounts. 

Chapters XVIII to XXI, on the contrary are practical and give instructions for 
applying the book-knowledge learnt from Chapters XIV to XVII by analyzing in 
its terms the meditator's individual experience, dealing also with what may be 
expected to happen in the course of development. Chapter XVIII as "defining of 
mentality-materiality" (first application of Chapters XIV to XVI) and Chapter XIX 
as "discerning conditions" (first application of Chapter XVII) are preparatory to 
insight proper, which begins in Chapter XX with contemplation of rise and fall. 
After this, progress continues through the "eight knowledges" with successive 
clarification — clarification of view of the object and consequent alterations of 
subjective attitude towards it — till a point, called "conformity knowledge," is 
reached which, through one of the "three gateways to liberation," heralds the 
attainment of the first supramundane path. 

In Chapter XXII, the attainment of the four successive supramundane paths (or 
successive stages in realization) is described, with the first of which Nibbana 
(extinction of the craving which originates suffering) is 'seen' for the first time, 
having till then been only intellectually conceived. At that moment suffering as a 
noble truth is fully understood, craving, its origin, is abandoned, suffering's 
cessation is realized, and the way to its cessation is developed. 21 The three remaining 
paths develop further and complete that vision. 

Finally, Chapter XXIII, as the counterpart of Chapters XII and XIII, describes 
the benefits of understanding. The description of Nibbana is given at Chapter VIII, 
§245ff., and a discussion of it at Chapter XVI, §66ff. 

Concerning the Translation 

The pitfalls that await anyone translating from another European language into 
his own native English are familiar enough; there is no need for him to fall into 
them. But when he ventures upon rendering an Oriental language, he will often 
have to be his own guide. 

Naturally, a translator from Pali today owes a large debt to his predecessors and 
to the Pali Text Society's publications, including in particular the Society's invaluable 
Pali-English Dictionary. A translator of the Visuddhimagga, too, must make due 
acknowledgement of its pioneer translation 22 U Pe Maung Tin. 



21. In the present work the development of serenity (concentration) is carried to its 
limit before insight (understanding) is dealt with. This is for clarity. But in the 
commentary to the Satipatthana Sutta (DN 22, MN 10) either the two are developed 
contemporaneously or insight is allowed to precede jhana concentration. According to 
the Suttas, concentration of jhana strength is necessary for the manifestation of the 
path (see e.g. XIV127; XV n.7; D II 313 = M III 252; A II 156, quoted at Patis II 92f.). 

22. Reprinted by the Pali Text Society as Path of Purity, 1922-31. 



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Path of Purification 

The word pali is translatable by "text." The pali language (the "text language," 
which the commentators call Magadhan) holds a special position, with no European 
parallel, being reserved to one field, namely, the Buddha's teaching. So there are 
no alien echoes. In the Suttas, the Sanskrit is silent, and it is heavily muted in the 
later literature. This fact, coupled with the richness and integrity of the subject 
itself, gives it a singular limpidness and depth in its early form, as in a string quartet 
or the clear ocean, which attains in the style of the Suttas to an exquisite and 
unrivalled beauty unreflectable by any rendering. Traces seem to linger even in 
the intricate formalism preferred by the commentators. 

This translation presents many formidable problems. Mainly either 
epistemological and psychological, or else linguistic, they relate either to what 
ideas and things are being discussed, or else to the manipulation of dictionary 
meanings of words used in discussion. 

The first is perhaps dominant. As mentioned earlier, the Visuddhimagga can be 
properly studied only as part of the whole commentarial edifice, whose cornerstone 
it is. But while indexes of words and subjects to the PTS edition of the Visuddhimagga 
exist, most of its author's works have only indexes of Pitaka words and names 
commented on but none for the mass of subject matter. So the student has to make 
his own. Of the commentaries too, only the Atthasalinl, the Dhammapada 
Commentary, and the Jataka Commentary have so far been translated (and the 
latter two are rather in a separate class). But that is a minor aspect. 

This book is largely technical and presents all the difficulties peculiar to technical 
translation: it deals, besides, with mental happenings. Now where many synonyms 
are used, as they often are in Pali, for public material objects — an elephant, say, or 
gold or the sun — the "material objects" should be poin table to, if there is doubt 
about what is referred to. Again even such generally recognized private experiences 
as those referred to by the words "consciousness" or "pain" seem too obvious to 
introspection for uncertainty to arise (communication to fail) if they are given variant 
symbols. Here the English translator can forsake the Pali allotment of synonyms 
and indulge a liking for "elegant variation," if he has it, without fear of muddle. 
But mind is fluid, as it were, and materially negative, and its analysis needs a 
different and a strict treatment. In the Suttas, and still more in the Abhidhamma, 
charting by analysis and definition of pin-pointed mental states is carried far into 
unfamiliar waters. It was already recognized then that this is no more a solid 
landscape of "things" to be pointed to when variation has resulted in vagueness. 
As an instance of disregard of this fact: a greater scholar with impeccable historical 
and philological judgment (perhaps the most eminent of the English translators) 
has in a single work rendered the cattaro satipatthana (here represented by "four 
foundations of mindfulness") by "four inceptions of deliberation," "fourfold setting 
up of mindfulness," "fourfold setting up of starting," "four applications of 
mindfulness," and other variants. The PED foreword observes: "No one needs now 
to use the one English word 'desire' as a translation of sixteen distinct Pali words, 
no one of which means precisely desire. Yet this was done in Vol. X of the Sacred 
Books of the East by Max Muller and Fausboll. " True; but need one go to the other 
extreme? How without looking up the Pali can one be sure if the same idea is 



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Introduction 

referred to by all these variants and not some other such as those referred to by 
cattaro iddhipada ("'four roads to power" or "bases of success"), cattaro sammappadhana 
("four right endeavours"), etc., or one of the many other "fours"? It is customary 
not to vary, say, the "call for the categorical imperative" in a new context by some 
such alternative as "uncompromising order" or "plain-speaking bidding" or "call 
for unconditional surrender," which the dictionaries would justify, or "faith" 
which the exegetists might recommend; that is to say, if it is hoped to avoid 
confusion. The choosing of an adequate rendering is, however, a quite different 
problem. 

But there is something more to be considered before coming to that. So far 
only the difficulty of isolating, symbolizing, and describing individual mental 
states has been touched on. But here the whole mental structure with its temporal- 
dynamic process is dealt with too. Identified mental as well as material states (none 
of which can arise independently) must be recognizable with their associations 
when encountered in new circumstances: for here arises the central question of 
thought-association and its manipulation. That is tacitly recognized in the Pali. If 
disregarded in the English rendering the tenuous structure with its inferences and 
negations — the flexible pattern of thought-associations — can no longer be 
communicated or followed, because the pattern of speech no longer reflects it, and 
whatever may be communicated is only fragmentary and perhaps deceptive. 
Renderings of words have to be distinguished, too, from renderings of words used 
to explain those words. From this aspect the Oriental system of word-by-word 
translation, which transliterates the sound of the principal substantive and verb 
stems and attaches to them local inflections, has much to recommend it, though, of 
course, it is not readable as "literature." One is handling instead of pictures of 
isolated ideas or even groups of ideas a whole coherent chart system. And besides, 
words, like maps and charts, are conventionally used to represent high dimensions. 

When already identified states or currents are encountered from new angles, 
the new situation can be verbalized in one of two ways at least: either by using in a 
new appropriate verbal setting the words already allotted to these states, or by 
describing the whole situation afresh in different terminology chosen ad hoc. While 
the second may gain in individual brightness, connections with other allied 
references can hardly fail to be lost. Aerial photographs must be taken from 
consistent altitudes, if they are to be used for making maps. And words serve the 
double purpose of recording ideas already formed and of arousing new ones. 

Structural coherence between different parts in the Pali of the present work 
needs reflecting in the translation — especially in the last ten chapters — if the thread 
is not soon to be lost. In fact, in the Pali (just as much in the Tipitaka as in its 
Commentaries), when such subjects are being handled, one finds that a tacit rule, 
"One term and one flexible definition for one idea (or state or event or situation) 
referred to," is adhered to pretty thoroughly. The reason has already been made 
clear. With no such rule, ideas are apt to disintegrate or coalesce or fictitiously 
multiply (and, of course, any serious attempt at indexing in English is stultified). 

23. See Prof. I. A. Richards, Mencius on Mind, Kegan Paul, 1932. 

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Path of Purification 

One thing needs to be made clear, though; for there is confusion of thought on 
this whole subject (one so far only partly investigated). 23 This "rule of parsimony 
in variants" has nothing to do with mechanical transliteration, which is a 
translator's refuge when he is unsure of himself. The guiding rule, "One 
recognizable idea, one word, or phrase to symbolize it," in no sense implies any 
such rule as, "One Pali word, one English word," which is neither desirable nor 
practicable. Nor in translating need the rule apply beyond the scope reviewed. 

So much for the epistemological and psychological problems. 

The linguistic problem is scarcely less formidable though much better 
recognized. While English is extremely analytic, Pali (another Indo-European 
language) is one of the groups of tongues regarded as dominated by Sanskrit, 
strongly agglutinative, forming long compounds and heavily inflected. The 
vocabulary chosen occasioned much heart-searching but is still very imperfect. 
If a few of the words encountered seem a bit algebraical at first, contexts and 
definitions should make them clear. In the translation of an Oriental language, 
especially a classical one, the translator must recognize that such knowledge 
which the Oriental reader is taken for granted to possess is lacking in his 
European counterpart, who tends unawares to fill the gaps from his own foreign 
store: the result can be like taking two pictures on one film. Not only is the 
common background evoked by the words shadowy and patchy, but European 
thought and Indian thought tend to approach the problems of human existence 
from opposite directions. This affects word formations. And so double meanings 
(utraquisms, puns, and metaphors) and etymological links often follow quite 
different tracks, a fact which is particularly intrusive in describing mental events, 
where the terms employed are mainly "material" ones used metaphorically. 
Unwanted contexts constantly creep in and wanted ones stay out. Then there are no 
well-defined techniques for recognizing and handling idioms, literal rendering of 
which misleads (while, say, one may not wonder whether to render tour de force by 
"enforced tour" or "tower of strength," one cannot always be so confident in Pali). 

Then again in the Visuddhimagga alone the actual words and word-meanings 
not in the PED come to more than two hundred and forty. The PED, as its preface 
states, is "essentially preliminary"; for when it was published many books had 
still not been collated; it leaves out many words even from the Sutta Pitaka, and 
the Sub-commentaries are not touched by it. Also — and most important here — in 
the making of that dictionary the study of Pali literature had for the most part not 
been tackled much from, shall one say, the philosophical, or better, epistemological, 
angle, 24 work and interest having been concentrated till then almost exclusively on 
history and philology. For instance, the epistemologically unimportant word vitnana 
(divine mansion) is given more than twice the space allotted to the term paticca- 
samuppada (dependent origination), a difficult subject of central importance, the 
article on which is altogether inadequate and misleading (owing partly to 
misapplication of the "historical method") . Then gala (throat) has been found more 

24. Exceptions are certain early works of Mrs. C.A.E Rhys Davids. See also discussions 
in appendixes to the translations of the Kathavatthu (Points of Controversy, PTS) and the 
Abhidhammatthasahgaha (Compendium of Philosophy, PTS). 

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Introduction 

glossarialy interesting than patisandhi (rebirth-linking), the original use of which 
word at M III 230 is ignored. Under nama, too, nama-rupa is confused with nama- 
kaya. And so one might continue. By this, however, it is not intended at all to 
depreciate that great dictionary, but only to observe that in using it the Pali student 
has sometimes to be wary: if it is criticized in particular here (and it can well hold 
its own against criticism), tribute must also be paid to its own inestimable general 
value. 

Concluding Remarks 
Current standard English has been aimed at and preference given always to 
simplicity. This has often necessitated cutting up long involved sentences, omitting 
connecting particles (such as pana, pan'ettha, yasmawhen followed by tasma, hi, kho, 
etc.), which serve simply as grammatical grease in long chains of subordinate 
periods. Conversely the author is sometimes extraordinarily elliptic (as in XIV46 
and XVI. 68f.), and then the device of square brackets has been used to add 
supplementary matter, without which the sentence would be too enigmatically 
shorthand. Such additions (kept to the minimum) are in almost every case taken 
from elsewhere in the work itself or from the Paramatthamanjusa. Round brackets 
have been reserved for references and for alternative renderings (as, e.g., in 1.140) 
where there is a sense too wide for any appropriate English word to straddle. 

A few words have been left untranslated (see individual notes). The choice is 
necessarily arbitrary. It includes katntna, dhamma (sometimes), jhana, Buddha 
(sometimes), bhikkhu, Nibbana, Patimokkha, kasina, Pitaka, and arahant. There seemed 
no advantage and much disadvantage in using the Sanskrit forms, bhiksu, dharma, 
dhyana, arhat, etc., as is sometimes done (even though "karma" and "nirvana" are 
in the Concise Oxford Dictionary), and no reason against absorbing the Pali words 
into English as they are by dropping the diacritical marks. Proper names appear in 
their Pali spelling without italics and with diacritical marks. Wherever Pali words 
or names appear, the stem form has been used (e.g. Buddha, kamma) rather than the 
inflected nominative (Buddho, kammarn), unless there were reasons against it. 25 

Accepted renderings have not been departed from nor earlier translators gone 
against capriciously. It seemed advisable to treat certain emotionally charged words 
such as "real" (especially with a capital R) with caution. Certain other words have 
been avoided altogether. For example, vassa ("rains") signifies a three-month period 
of residence in one place during the rainy season, enjoined upon bhikkhus by the 
Buddha in order that they should not travel about trampling down crops and so 

25. Pronounce letters as follows: a as in countryman, a father, e whey, / chin, F machine, 
u full, u rule; c church (always), g give (always); h always sounded separately, e.g. bh in 
cab-horse, ch in catch him (not kitchen), ph in upholstery (not telephone), th in hot- 
house (not pathos), etc.; j joke; m and h as ng in singer, n as ni in onion; d, I, n and t are 
pronounced with tongue-tip on palate; d, t, n and with tongue-tip on teeth; double 
consonants as in Italian, e.g. dd as in mad dog (not madder), gg as in big gun (not 
bigger); rest as in English. 

26. Of the principal English value words, "real," "truth," "beauty" "good," "absolute," 
"being," etc.: "real" has been used for tatha (XVI. 24), "truth" allotted to sacca (XVI. 25) 
and "beauty" to subha (IX. 119); "good" has been used sometimes for the prefix su- and 



liii 

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Path of Purification 

annoy farmers. To translate it by "lent" as is sometimes done lets in a historical 
background and religious atmosphere of mourning and fasting quite alien to it 
(with no etymological support). "Metempsychosis" for patisandhi is another 
notable instance. 26 

The handling of three words, dhamma, citta, and rupa (see Glossary and relevant 
notes) is admittedly something of a makeshift. The only English word that might 
with some agility be used consistently for dhamma seems to be "idea"; but it has 
been crippled by philosophers and would perhaps mislead. Citta might with 
advantage have been rendered throughout by "cognizance," in order to preserve 
its independence, instead of rendering it sometimes by "mind" (shared with mano) 
and sometimes by "consciousness" (shared with vinnana) as has been done. But in 
many contexts all three Pali words are synonyms for the same general notion (see 
XIV82); and technically, the notion of "cognition," referred to in its bare aspect by 
vinnana, is also referred to along with its concomitant affective colouring, thought 
and memory, etc., by citta. So the treatment accorded to citta here finds support to 
that extent. Lastly "mentality-materiality" for nama-rupa is inadequate and "name- 
and-form" in some ways preferable. "Name" (see Ch. XVIII, n.4) still suggests 
noma's function of "naming"; and "form" for the rupa of the rupakkhandha 
("materiality aggregate") can preserve the link with the rupa of the rupayatana, 
("visible-object base") by rendering them respectively with "material form 
aggregate" and "visible form base" — a point not without philosophical importance. 
A compromise has been made at Chapter X.13. "Materiality" or "matter" wherever 
used should not be taken as implying any hypostasis, any "permanent or semi- 
permanent substance behind appearances" (the objective counterpart of the 
subjective ego), which would find no support in the Pali. 

The editions of Sri Lanka, Burma and Thailand have been consulted as well as 
the two Latin-script editions; and Sinhalese translations, besides. The paragraph 
numbers of the Harvard University Press edition will be found at the start of 
paragraphs and the page numbers of the Pali Text Society's edition in square 
brackets in the text (the latter, though sometimes appearing at the end of paragraphs, 
mark the beginnings of the PTS pages). Errors of readings and punctuation in the 
PTS edition not in the Harvard edition have not been referred to in the notes. 

For the quotations from the Tipitaka it was found impossible to make use of 
existing published translations because they lacked the kind of treatment sought. 
However, other translation work in hand served as the basis for all the Pitaka 
quotations. 

Rhymes seemed unsuitable for the verses from the Tipitaka and the "Ancients"; 
but they have been resorted to for the summarizing verses belonging to the 
Visuddhimagga itself. The English language is too weak in fixed stresses to lend 

also for the adj. kalyana and the subst. attha. "Absolute" has not been employed, though 
it might perhaps be used for the word advaya, which qualifies the word kasina 
("universality" "totalization") at M II 14, and then: "One (man) perceives earth as a 
universality above, below, around, absolute, measureless" could be an alternative for 
the rendering given in V38. "Being" (as abstract subst.) has sometimes been used for 
bhava, which is otherwise rendered by "becoming." 

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Introduction 

itself to Pali rhythms, though one attempt to reproduce them was made in 
Chapter IV 

Where a passage from a sutta is commented on, the order of the explanatory 
comments follows the Pali order of words in the original sentence, which is not 
always that of the translation of it. 

In Indian books the titles and subtitles are placed only at, the end of the subject 
matter. In the translations they have been inserted at the beginning, and some 
subtitles added for the sake of clarity. In this connection the title at the end of 
Chapter XI, "Description of Concentration" is a "heading" applying not only to 
that chapter but as far back as the beginning of Chapter III. Similarly, the title at the 
end of Chapter XIII refers back to the beginning of Chapter XII. The heading 
"Description of the Soil in which Understanding Grows" (panna-bhilmi-niddesa) 
refers back from the end of Chapter XVII to the beginning of Chapter XIV. 

The book abounds in "shorthand" allusions to the Pitakas and to other parts of 
itself. They are often hard to recognize, and failure to do so results in a sentence 
with a half -meaning. It is hoped that most of them have been hunted down. 

Criticism has been strictly confined to the application of Pali Buddhist standards 
in an attempt to produce a balanced and uncoloured English counterpart of the 
original. The use of words has been stricter in the translation itself than the 
Introduction to it. 

The translator will, of course, have sometimes slipped or failed to follow his 
own rules; and there are many passages any rendering of which is bound to evoke 
query from some quarter where there is interest in the subject. As to the rules, 
however, and the vocabulary chosen, it has not been intended to lay down laws, 
and when the methods adopted are described above that is done simply to indicate 
the line taken: Janapada-niruttim nabhiniveseyya, samannam nati-dhaveyya ti (see 
XVII.24). 



lv 



The Path of Purification 
( Visuddhimagga) 






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Parti 
Virtue (Sila) 






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Namo tassa bhagavato arahato 
sammasambuddhassa 



Chapter I 

Description of Virtue 
(Slla-niddesa) 

[I. Introductory] 

1 . [1] "When a wise man, established well in virtue, 

Develops consciousness and understanding, 

Then as a bhikkhu ardent and sagacious 

He succeeds in disentangling this tangle" (S 1 13). 

This was said. But why was it said? While the Blessed One was living at Savatthi, 
it seems, a certain deity came to him in the night, and in order to do away with his 
doubts, he asked this question: 

"The inner tangle and the outer tangle — 

This generation is entangled in a tangle. 

And so I ask of Gotama this question: 

Who succeeds in disentangling this tangle?" (S 1 13). 

2. Here is the meaning in brief. Tangle is a term for the network of craving. For 
that is a tangle in the sense of lacing together, like the tangle called network of 
branches in bamboo thickets, etc., because it goes on arising again and again up 
and down 1 among the objects [of consciousness] beginning with what is visible. 
But it is called the inner tangle and the outer tangle because it arises [as craving] for 
one's own requisites and another's, for one's own person and another's, and for 
the internal and external bases [for consciousness]. Since it arises in this way, this 
generation is entangled in a tangle. As the bamboos, etc., are entangled by the bamboo 
tangle, etc., so too this generation, in other words, this order of living beings, is all 
entangled by the tangle of craving — the meaning is that it is intertwined, interlaced 
by it. [2] And because it is entangled like this, so I ask of Gotama this question, that is 
why I ask this. He addressed the Blessed One by his clan name as Gotama. Who 

1. "From a visible datum sometimes as far down as a mental datum, or vice versa, 
following the order of the six kinds of objects of consciousness as given in the teaching" 
(Vism-mht 5, see XV32). 

5 

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Path of Purification Part 1: Virtue (Sila) 

succeeds in disentangling this tangle: who may disentangle this tangle that keeps the 
three kinds of existence entangled in this way? — What he asks is, who is capable of 
disentangling it? 

3. However, when questioned thus, the Blessed One, whose knowledge of all 
things is unimpeded, deity of deities, excelling Sakka (Ruler of Gods), excelling 
Brahma, fearless in the possession of the four kinds of perfect confidence, wielder 
of the ten powers, all-seer with unobstructed knowledge, uttered this stanza in 
reply to explain the meaning: 

"When a wise man, established well in virtue, 
Develops consciousness and understanding, 
Then as a bhikkhu ardent and sagacious 
He succeeds in disentangling this tangle." 

4. My task is now to set out the true sense, 
Divided into virtue and the rest, 

Of this same verse composed by the Great Sage. 

There are here in the Victor's Dispensation 

Seekers gone forth from home to homelessness, 

And who although desiring purity 

Have no right knowledge of the sure straight way 

Comprising virtue and the other two, 

Right hard to find, that leads to purity — 

Who, though they strive, here gain no purity. 

To them I shall expound the comforting Path 

Of Purification, pure in expositions, 

Relying on the teaching of the dwellers 

In the Great Monastery; 2 let all those 

Good men who do desire purity 

Listen intently to my exposition. 

5. Herein, purification should be understood as Nibbana, which being devoid of 
all stains, is utterly pure. The path of purification is the path to that purification; it is 
the means of approach that is called the path. The meaning is, I shall expound that 
path of purification. 

6. In some instances this path of purification is taught by insight alone, 3 according 
as it is said: 



2. The Great Monastery (Mahavihara) at Anuradhapura in Sri Lanka. 

3. "The words 'insight alone' are meant to exclude not virtue, etc., but serenity (i.e. 
jhana), which is the opposite number in the pair, serenity and insight. This is for 
emphasis. But the word 'alone' actually excludes only that concentration with distinction 
[of jhana]; for concentration is classed as both access and absorption (see IV32). Taking 
this stanza as the teaching for one whose vehicle is insight does not imply that there is 
no concentration; for no insight comes about without momentary concentration. And 
again, insight should be understood as the three contemplations of impermanence, 
pain, and not-self; not contemplation of impermanence alone" (Vism-mht 9-10). 






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Chapter I Description of Virtue 

"Formations are all impermanent: 
When he sees thus with understanding 
And turns away from what is ill, 
That is the path to purity" (Dhp 277). [3] 

And in some instances by jhana and understanding, according as it is said: 

"He is near unto Nibbana 

In whom are jhana and understanding" (Dhp 372). 

And in some instances by deeds (kamma), etc., according as it is said: 

"By deeds, vision and righteousness, 

By virtue, the sublimest life — 

By these are mortals purified, 

And not by lineage and wealth" (M III 262). 

And in some instances by virtue, etc., according as it is said: 

"He who is possessed of constant virtue, 
Who has understanding, and is concentrated, 
Who is strenuous and diligent as well, 
Will cross the flood so difficult to cross" (S I 53). 

And in some instances by the foundations of mindfulness, etc., according as it 
is said: "Bhikkhus, this path is the only way for the purification of beings . . . for the 
realization of Nibbana, that is to say, the four foundations of mindfulness" (D II 
290); and similarly in the case of the right efforts, and so on. But in the answer to 
this question it is taught by virtue and the other two. 

7. Here is a brief commentary [on the stanza]. Established well in virtue: standing 
on virtue. It is only one actually fulfilling virtue who is here said to "stand on 
virtue." So the meaning here is this: being established well in virtue by fulfilling 
virtue. A man: a living being. Wise: possessing the kind of understanding that is 
born of kamma by means of a rebirth-linking with triple root-cause. Develops 
consciousness and understanding: develops both concentration and insight. For it is 
concentration that is described here under the heading of "consciousness," and 
insight under that of "understanding." 4 Ardent (atapin): possessing energy. For it is 
energy that is called "ardour" (atapa) in the sense of burning up and consuming 
(atapana-paritapana) defilements. He has that, thus he is ardent. Sagacious: it is 



4. "'Develops' applies to both 'consciousness' and 'understanding.' But are they 
mundane or supramundane? They are supramundane, because the sublime goal is 
described; for one developing them is said to disentangle the tangle of craving by cutting 
it off at the path moment, and that is not mundane. But the mundane are included here 
too because they immediately precede, since supramundane (see Ch. Ill n._5) 
concentration and insight are impossible without mundane concentration and insight 
to precede them; for without the access and absorption concentration in one whose 
vehicle is serenity, or without the momentary concentration in one whose vehicle is 
insight, and without the gateways to liberation (see XXI. 66f.), the supramundane can 
never in either case be reached" (Vism-mht 13). "With triple root-cause" means with 
non-greed, none-hate, and non-delusion. 

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Path of Purification Part 1: Virtue (Sila) 

understanding that is called "sagacity"; possessing that, is the meaning. This word 
shows protective understanding. For understanding is mentioned three times in 
the reply to the question. Herein, the first is naive understanding, the second is 
understanding consisting in insight, while the third is the protective understanding 
that guides all affairs. He sees fear (bhayam ikkhati) in the round of rebirths, thus he 
is a bhikkhu. He succeeds in disentangling this tangle: [4] Just as a man standing on the 
ground and taking up a well-sharpened knife might disentangle a great tangle of 
bamboos, so too, he — this bhikkhu who possesses the six things, namely, this virtue, 
and this concentration described under the heading of consciousness, and this 
threefold understanding, and this ardour — standing on the ground of virtue and 
taking up with the hand of protective-understanding exerted by the power of energy 
the knife of insight-understanding well-sharpened on the stone of concentration, 
might disentangle, cut away and demolish all the tangle of craving that had 
overgrown his own life's continuity. But it is at the moment of the path that he is 
said to be disentangling that tangle; at the moment of fruition he has disentangled 
the tangle and is worthy of the highest offerings in the world with its deities. That 
is why the Blessed One said: 

"When a wise man, established well in virtue, 
Develops consciousness and understanding, 
Then as a bhikkhu ardent and sagacious 
He succeeds in disentangling this tangle." 

8. Herein there is nothing for him to do about the [naive] understanding on 
account of which he is called wise; for that has been established in him simply by 
the influence of previous kamma. But the words ardent and sagacious mean that by 
persevering with energy of the kind here described and by acting in full awareness 
with understanding he should, having become well established in virtue, develop 
the serenity and insight that are described as concentration and understanding. This 
is how the Blessed One shows the path of purification under the headings of virtue, 
concentration, and understanding there. 

9. What has been shown so far is the three trainings, the dispensation that is 
good in three ways, the necessary condition for the threefold clear-vision, etc., the 
avoidance of the two extremes and the cultivation of the middle way, the means to 
surmounting the states of loss, etc., the abandoning of defilements in three aspects, 
prevention of transgression etc., purification from the three kinds of defilements, 
and the reason for the states of stream-entry and so on. How? 

10. Here the training of higher virtue is shown by virtue; the training of higher 
consciousness, by concentration; and the training of higher understanding, by 

understanding. 

The dispensation's goodness in the beginning is shown by virtue. Because of the 
passage, "And what is the beginning of profitable things? Virtue that is quite 
purified" (S V 143), and because of the passage beginning, "The not doing of any 
evil" (Dhp 183), virtue is the beginning of the dispensation. And that is good because 
it brings about the special qualities of non-remorse, 5 and so on. Its goodness in the 

5. One who is virtuous has nothing to be remorseful about. 

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Chapter I Description of Virtue 

middle is shown by concentration. [5] Because of the passage beginning, "Entering 
upon the profitable" (Dhp 183), concentration is the middle of the dispensation. 
And that is good because it brings about the special qualities of supernormal power, 
and so on. Its goodness in the end is shown by understanding. Because of the passage, 
"The purifying of one's own mind — this is the Buddhas' dispensation" (Dhp 183), 
and because understanding is its culmination, understanding is the end of the 
dispensation. And that is good because it brings about equipoise with respect to 
the desired and the undesired. For this is said: 

"Just as a solid massive rock 
Remains unshaken by the wind, 
So too, in face of blame and praise 
The wise remain immovable" (Dhp 81). 

11 . Likewise the necessary condition for the triple clear-vision is shown by virtue. 
For with the support of perfected virtue one arrives at the three kinds of clear- 
vision, but nothing besides that. The necessary condition for the six kinds of direct- 
knowledge is shown by concentration. For with the support of perfected 
concentration one arrives at the six kinds of direct-knowledge, but nothing besides 
that. The necessary condition for the categories of discrimination is shown by 
understanding. For with the support of perfected understanding one arrives at the 
four kinds of discrimination, but not for any other reason. 6 

And the avoidance of the extreme called devotion to indulgence of sense desires 
is shown by virtue. The avoidance of the extreme called devotion to mortification 
of self is shown by concentration. The cultivation of the middle way is shown by 
understanding. 

12. Likewise the means for surmounting the states of loss is shown by virtue; the means 
for surmounting the element of sense desires, by concentration; and the means for 
surmounting all becoming, by understanding. 

And the abandoning of defilements by substitution of opposites is shown by virtue; 
that by suppression is shown by concentration; and that by cutting off is shown by 
understanding. 

13. Likewise prevention of defilements' transgression is shown by virtue; prevention of 
obsession (by defilement) is shown by concentration; prevention of inherent 
tendencies is shown by understanding. 

And purification from the defilement of misconduct is shown by virtue; purification 
from the defilement of craving, by concentration; and purification from the 
defilement of (false) views, by understanding. 



6. The three kinds of clear-vision are: recollection of past lives, knowledge of the 
passing away and reappearance of beings (divine eye), and knowledge of destruction 
of cankers (M I 22-23). The six kinds of direct-knowledge are: knowledge of 
supernormal power, the divine ear element, penetration of minds, recollection of past 
lives, knowledge of the passing away and reappearance of beings, and knowledge of 
destruction of cankers (M 1 34-35). The four discriminations are those of meaning, law, 
language, and intelligence (A II 160). 

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14. [6] Likewise the reason for the states of stream-entry and once-return is shown 
by virtue; that for the state of non-return, by concentration; that for Arahantship by 
understanding. For the stream-enterer is called "perfected in the kinds of virtue"; 
and likewise the once-returner. But the non-returner is called "perfected in con- 
centration." And the Arahant is called "perfected in understanding" (see A I 233). 

15. So thus far these nine and other like triads of special qualities have been shown, 
that is, the three trainings, the dispensation that is good in three ways, the necessary 
condition for the threefold clear-vision, the avoidance of the two extremes and the 
cultivation of the middle way, the means for surmounting the states of loss, etc., 
the abandoning of defilements in three aspects, prevention of transgression, etc., 
purification from the three kinds of defilements, and the reason for the states of 
stream-entry and so on. 

[II. Virtue] 

16. However, even when this path of purification is shown in this way under the 
headings of virtue, concentration and understanding, each comprising various 
special qualities, it is still only shown extremely briefly. And so since that is 
insufficient to help all, there is, in order to show it in detail, the following set of 
questions dealing in the first place with virtue: 

(i) What is virtue? 

(ii) In what sense is it virtue? 

(iii) What are its characteristic, function, manifestation, and proximate 

cause? 

(iv) What are the benefits of virtue? 

(v) How many kinds of virtue are there? 

(vi) What is the defiling of it? 

(viii) What is the cleansing of it? 

17. Here are the answers: 

(i) What is virtue? It is the states beginning with volition present in one who 
abstains from killing living things, etc., or in one who fulfils the practice of the 
duties. For this is said in the Patisambhida: "What is virtue? There is virtue as 
volition, virtue as consciousness-concomitant, 7 virtue as restraint, [7] virtue as non- 
transgression" (Patis I 44). 

Herein, virtue as volition is the volition present in one who abstains from killing 
living things, etc., or in one who fulfils the practice of the duties. Virtue as consciousness- 
concomitant is the abstinence in one who abstains from killing living things, and so on. 
Furthermore, virtue as volition is the seven volitions [that accompany the first seven] of 
the [ten] courses of action (kamma) in one who abandons the killing of living things, 
and so on. Virtue as consciousness-concomitant is the [three remaining] states consisting 
of non-covetousness, non-ill will, and right view, stated in the way beginning, 
"Abandoning covetousness, he dwells with a mind free from covetousness" (D I 71). 

7. "Consciousness-concomitants" (cetasika) is a collective term for feeling, perception, 
and formation, variously subdivided; in other words, aspects of mentality that arise 
together with consciousness. 

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18. Virtue as restraint should be understood here as restraint in five ways: restraint 
by the rules of the community (patimokkha), restraint by mindfulness, restraint 
by knowledge, restraint by patience, and restraint by energy. Herein, "restraint 
by the Patimokkha" is this: "He is furnished, fully furnished, with this 
Patimokkha restraint. (Vibh 246)" "Restraint by mindfulness" is this: "He guards 
the eye faculty, enters upon restraint of the eye faculty" (D I 70). "Restraint by 
knowledge" is this: 

"The currents in the world that flow, Ajita," 

said the Blessed One, 
"Are stemmed by means of mindfulness; 
Restraint of currents I proclaim, 
By understanding they are dammed" (Sn 1035); 

and use of requisites is here combined with this. But what is called "restraint by 
patience" is that given in the way beginning, "He is one who bears cold and heat" 
(M 110). And what is called "restraint by energy" is that given in the way beginning, 
"He does not endure a thought of sense desires when it arises" (M 1 11); purification 
of livelihood is here combined with this. So this fivefold restraint, and the abstinence, 
in clansmen who dread evil, from any chance of transgression met with, should 
all be understood to be "virtue as restraint." 

Virtue as non-transgression is the non-transgression, by body or speech, of precepts 
of virtue that have been undertaken. 

This, in the first place, is the answer to the question, "What is virtue?" [8] Now, 
as to the rest — 

19. (ii) In what sense is it virtue ? It is virtue {slid) in the sense of composing (silana). 8 
What is this composing? It is either a coordinating (samadhana), meaning non- 
inconsistency of bodily action, etc., due to virtuousness; or it is an upholding 
(upadharana) , s meaning a state of basis (ddhara) owing to its serving as foundation 
for profitable states. For those who understand etymology admit only these two 
meanings. Others, however, comment on the meaning here in the way beginning, 
"The meaning of virtue {silo.) is the meaning of head (sira), the meaning of virtue is 
the meaning of cool (sitala)." 

20. (iii) Now, what are its characteristic, function, manifestation, and proximate 
cause? Here: 

The characteristic of it is composing 
Even when analyzed in various ways, 
As visibility is of visible data 
Even when analyzed in various ways. 

Just as visibleness is the characteristic of the visible-data base even when analyzed 
into the various categories of blue, yellow, etc., because even when analyzed into 
these categories it does not exceed visible-ness, so also this same composing, 
described above as the coordinating of bodily action, etc., and as the foundation of 

8. Silana and upadharana in this meaning (cf. Ch. I, §141 and sandharana, XIV61) are 
not in PED. 



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profitable states, is the characteristic of virtue even when analyzed into the various 
categories of volition, etc., because even when analyzed into these categories it 
does not exceed the state of coordination and foundation. 

21. While such is its characteristic: 

Its function has a double sense: 
Action to stop misconduct, then 
Achievement as the quality 
Of blamelessness in virtuous men. 

So what is called virtue should be understood to have the function (nature) of 
stopping misconduct as its function (nature) in the sense of action, and a blameless 
function (nature) as its function (nature) in the sense of achievement. For under 
[these headings of] characteristic, etc., it is action (kicca) or it is achievement (sampatti) 
that is called "function" (rasa — nature). 

22. Now, virtue, so say those who know, 
Itself as purity will show; 

And for its proximate cause they tell 

The pair, conscience and shame, as well. [9] 

This virtue is manifested as the kinds of purity stated thus: "Bodily purity, verbal 
purity, mental purity" (A I 271); it is manifested, comes to be apprehended, as a 
pure state. But conscience and shame are said by those who know to be its proximate 
cause; its near reason, is the meaning. For when conscience and shame are in 
existence, virtue arises and persists; and when they are not, it neither arises nor 
persists. 

This is how virtue's characteristic, function, manifestation, and proximate cause, 
should be understood. 

23. (iv) What are the benefits of virtue? Its benefits are the acquisition of the 
several special qualities beginning with non-remorse. For this is said: "Ananda, 
profitable habits (virtues) have non-remorse as their aim and non-remorse as their 
benefit" (A V 1). Also it is said further: "Householder, there are these five benefits 
for the virtuous in the perfecting of virtue. What five? Here, householder, one who 
is virtuous, possessed of virtue, obtains a large fortune as a consequence of diligence; 
this is the first benefit for the virtuous in the perfecting of virtue. Again, of one 
who is virtuous, possessed of virtue, a fair name is spread abroad; this is the second 
benefit for the virtuous in the perfecting of virtue. Again, whenever one who is 
virtuous, possessed of virtue, enters an assembly, whether of khattiyas (warrior- 
nobles) or brahmans or householders or ascetics, he does so without fear or 
hesitation; this is the third benefit for the virtuous in the perfecting of virtue. Again, 
one who is virtuous, possessed of virtue, dies unconfused; this is the fourth benefit 
for the virtuous in the perfecting of virtue. Again, one who is virtuous, possessed 
of virtue, on the breakup of the body, after death, reappears in a happy destiny, in 
the heavenly world; this is the fifth benefit for the virtuous in the perfecting of 
virtue" (D II 86). There are also the many benefits of virtue beginning with being 
dear and loved and ending with destruction of cankers described in the passage 
beginning, "If a bhikkhu should wish, 'May I be dear to my fellows in the life of 



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Chapter I Description of Virtue 

purity and loved by them, held in respect and honoured by them,' let him perfect 
the virtues" (M 1 33). This is how virtue has as its benefits the several special qualities 
beginning with non-remorse. [10] 

24. Furthermore: 

Dare anyone a limit place 
On benefits that virtue brings, 
Without which virtue clansmen find 
No footing in the dispensation? 

No Ganges, and no Yamuna 

No Sarabhu, Sarassathi, 

Or flowing Aciravati, 

Or noble River of Mahi, 

Is able to wash out the stain 

In things that breathe here in the world; 

For only virtue's water can 

Wash out the stain in living things. 

No breezes that come bringing rain, 
No balm of yellow sandalwood, 
No necklaces beside, or gems 
Or soft effulgence of moonbeams, 
Can here avail to calm and soothe 
Men's fevers in this world; whereas 
This noble, this supremely cool, 
Well-guarded virtue quells the flame. 

Where is there to be found the scent 
That can with virtue's scent compare, 
And that is borne against the wind 
As easily as with it? Where 
Can such another stair be found 
That climbs, as virtue does, to heaven? 
Or yet another door that gives 
Onto the City of Nibbana? 

Shine as they may, there are no kings 
Adorned with jewellery and pearls 
That shine as does a man restrained 
Adorned with virtue's ornament. 
Virtue entirely does away 
With dread of self-blame and the like; 
Their virtue to the virtuous 
Gives gladness always by its fame. 

From this brief sketch it may be known 
How virtue brings reward, and how 
This root of all good qualities 
Robs of its power every fault. 



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25. (v) Now, here is the answer to the question, How many kinds of virtue are 

THERE ? 

1. Firstly all this virtue is of one kind by reason of its own characteristic of 
composing. 

2. It is of two kinds as keeping and avoiding. 

3. Likewise as that of good behaviour and that of the beginning of the life of 
purity, 

4. As abstinence and non-abstinence, 

5. As dependent and independent, 

6. As temporary and lifelong, 

7. As limited and unlimited, 

8. As mundane and supramundane. [11] 

9. It is of three kinds as inferior, medium, and superior. 

10. Likewise as giving precedence to self, giving precedence to the world, and 
giving precedence to the Dhamma, 

11. As adhered to, not adhered to, and tranquillized. 

12. As purified, unpurified, and dubious. 

13. As that of the trainer, that of the non- trainer, and that of the neither- trainer- 
nor-non-trainer. 

14. It is of four kinds as partaking of diminution, of stagnation, of distinction, 
of penetration. 

15. Likewise as that of bhikkhus, of bhikkhunis, of the not-fully-admitted, of 
the laity, 

16. As natural, customary, necessary, due to previous causes, 

17. As virtue of Patimokkha restraint, of restraint of sense faculties, of 
purification of livelihood, and that concerning requisites. 

18. It is of five kinds as virtue consisting in limited purification, etc.; for this is 
said in the Patisambhida: "Five kinds of virtue: virtue consisting in limited 
purification, virtue consisting in unlimited purification, virtue consisting in fulfilled 
purification, virtue consisting in unadhered-to purification, virtue consisting in 
tranquillized purification" (Patis I 42). 

19. Likewise as abandoning, refraining, volition, restraint, and non- 
transgression. 

26. 1. Herein, in the section dealing with that of one kind, the meaning should 
be understood as already stated. 

2. In the section dealing with that of two kinds: fulfilling a training precept 
announced by the Blessed One thus: "This should be done" is keeping; not doing what 
is prohibited by him thus: "This should not be done" is avoiding. Herein, the word- 
meaning is this: they keep (caranti) within that, they proceed as people who fulfil the 
virtues, thus it is keeping (caritta); they preserve, they protect, they avoid, thus it is 



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avoiding. Herein, keeping is accomplished by faith and energy; avoiding, by faith and 
mindfulness. This is how it is of two kinds as keeping and avoiding. 

27. 3. In the second dyad good behaviour is the best kind of behaviour. Good 
behaviour itself is that of good behaviour; or what is announced for the sake of good 
behaviour is that of good behaviour. This is a term for virtue other than that which 
has livelihood as eighth. 9 It is the initial stage of the life of purity consisting in the 
path, thus it is that of the beginning of the life of purity. This is a term for the virtue 
that has livelihood as eighth. It is the initial stage of the path because it has actually 
to be purified in the prior stage too. Hence it is said: "But his bodily action, his 
verbal action, and his livelihood have already been purified earlier" (M III 289). Or 
the training precepts called "lesser and minor" (D II 154) [12] are that of good 
behaviour; the rest are that of the beginning of the life of purity. Or what is included in 
the Double Code (the bhikkhus' and bhikkhunls' Patimokkha) is that of the beginning 
of the life of purity; and that included in the duties set out in the Khandhakas [of 
Vinaya] is that of good behaviour. Through its perfection that of the beginning of the life 
of purity comes to be perfected. Hence it is said also "that this bhikkhu shall fulfil 
the state consisting in the beginning of the life of purity without having fulfilled 
the state consisting in good behaviour — that is not possible" (A III 14-15). So it is 
of two kinds as that of good behaviour and that of the beginning of the life of 
purity. 

28. 4. In the third dyad virtue as abstinence is simply abstention from killing living 
things, etc.; the other kinds consisting in volition, etc., are virtue as non-abstinence. 
So it is of two kinds as abstinence and non-abstinence. 

29. 5. In the fourth dyad there are two kinds of dependence: dependence through 
craving and dependence through [false] views. Herein, that produced by one who 
wishes for a fortunate kind of becoming thus, "Through this virtuous conduct 
[rite] I shall become a [great] deity or some [minor] deity" (M 1 102), is dependent 
through craving. That produced through such [false] view about purification as 
"Purification is through virtuous conduct" (Vibh 374) is dependent through [false] 
view. But the supramundane, and the mundane that is the prerequisite for the 
aforesaid supramundane, are independent. So it is of two kinds as dependent and 
independent. 

30. 6. In the fifth dyad temporary virtue is that undertaken after deciding on a 
time limit. Lifelong virtue is that practiced in the same way but undertaking it for 
as long as life lasts. So it is of two kinds as temporary and lifelong. 

31 . 7. In the sixth dyad the limited is that seen to be limited by gain, fame, relatives, 
limbs, or life. The opposite is unlimited. And this is said in the Patisambhida: "What 
is the virtue that has a limit? There is virtue that has gain as its limit, there is virtue 
that has fame as its limit, there is virtue that has relatives as its limit, there is virtue 
that has limbs as its limit, there is virtue that has life as its limit. What is virtue that 

9. The three kinds of profitable bodily kamma or action (not killing or stealing or 
indulging in sexual misconduct), the four kinds of profitable verbal kamma or action 
(refraining from lying, malicious speech, harsh speech, and gossip), and right livelihood 
as the eighth. 

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has gain as its limit? Here someone with gain as cause, with gain as condition, 
with gain as reason, transgresses a training precept as undertaken: that virtue has 
gain as its limit" (Patis I 43), [13] and the rest should be elaborated in the same 
way. Also in the answer dealing with the unlimited it is said: "What is virtue that 
does not have gain as its limit? Here someone does not, with gain as cause, with 
gain as condition, with gain as reason, even arouse the thought of transgressing a 
training precept as undertaken, how then shall he actually transgress it? That virtue 
does not have gain as its limit" (Patis 1 44), and the rest should be elaborated in the 
same way. So it is of two kinds as limited and unlimited. 

32. 8. In the seventh dyad all virtue subject to cankers is mundane; that not subject 
to cankers is supramundane. Herein, the mundanebrings about improvement in future 
becoming and is a prerequisite for the escape from becoming, according as it is 
said: "Discipline is for the purpose of restraint, restraint is for the purpose of non- 
remorse, non-remorse is for the purpose of gladdening, gladdening is for the 
purpose of happiness, happiness is for the purpose of tranquillity, tranquillity is 
for the purpose of bliss, bliss is for the purpose of concentration, concentration is 
for the purpose of correct knowledge and vision, correct knowledge and vision is 
for the purpose of dispassion, dispassion is for the purpose of fading away [of 
greed], fading away is for the purpose of deliverance, deliverance is for the purpose 
of knowledge and vision of deliverance, knowledge and vision of deliverance is 
for the purpose of complete extinction [of craving, etc.] through not clinging. Talk 
has that purpose, counsel has that purpose, support has that purpose, giving ear 
has that purpose, that is to say, the liberation of the mind through not clinging" 
(Vin V 164). The supramundane brings about the escape from becoming and is the 
plane of reviewing knowledge. So it is of two kinds as mundane and supramundane. 

33. 9. In the first of the triads the inferior is produced by inferior zeal, [purity of] 
consciousness, energy, or inquiry; the medium is produced by medium zeal, etc.; 
the superior, by superior (zeal, and so on). That undertaken out of desire for fame is 
inferior; that undertaken out of desire for the fruits of merit is medium; that 
undertaken for the sake of the noble state thus, "This has to be done" is superior. Or 
again, that defiled by self-praise and disparagement of others, etc., thus, "I am 
possessed of virtue, but these other bhikkhus are ill-conducted and evil-natured" 
(M 1 193), is inferior; undefiled mundane virtue is medium; supramundane is superior. 
Or again, that motivated by craving, the purpose of which is to enjoy continued 
existence, is inferior; that practiced for the purpose of one's own deliverance is 
medium; the virtue of the perfections practiced for the deliverance of all beings is 
superior. So it is of three kinds as inferior, medium, and superior. 

34. 10. In the second triad that practiced out of self-regard by one who regards self 
and desires to abandon what is unbecoming to self [14] is virtue giving precedence to 
self. That practiced out of regard for the world and out of desire to ward off the censure 
of the world is virtue giving precedence to the world. That practiced out of regard for the 
Dhamma and out of desire to honour the majesty of the Dhamma is virtue giving 
precedence to the Dhamma. So it is of three kinds as giving precedence to self, and so on. 

35. 1 L In the third triad the virtue that in the dyads was called dependent (no. 5) 
is adhered-to because it is adhered-to through craving and [false] view. That practiced 



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by the magnanimous ordinary man as the prerequisite of the path, and that 
associated with the path in trainers, are not-adhered-to. That associated with trainers' 
and non-trainers' fruition is tranquillized. So it is of three kinds as adhered-to, and 
so on. 

36. 12. In the fourth triad that fulfilled by one who has committed no offence or 
has made amends after committing one is pure. So long as he has not made amends 
after committing an offence it is impure. Virtue in one who is dubious about whether 
a thing constitutes an offence or about what grade of offence has been committed 
or about whether he has committed an offence is dubious. Herein, the meditator 
should purify impure virtue. If dubious, he should avoid cases about which he is 
doubtful and should get his doubts cleared up. In this way his mind will be kept at 
rest. So it is of three kinds as pure, and so on. 

37. 13. In the fifth triad the virtue associated with the four paths and with the 
[first] three fruitions is that of the trainer. That associated with the fruition of 
Arahantship is that of the non-trainer. The remaining kinds are that of the neither- 
trainer-nor-non-trainer. So it is of three kinds as that of the trainer, and so on. 

38. But in the world the nature of such and such beings is called their "habit" (slla) of 
which they say: "This one is of happy habit (sukha-slla), this one is of unhappy habit, 
this one is of quarrelsome habit, this one is of dandified habit." Because of that it is 
said in the Patisambhida figuratively: "Three kinds of virtue (habit): profitable virtue, 
unprofitable virtue, indeterminate virtue" (Patis 1 44). So it is also called of three kinds 
as profitable, and so on. Of these, the unprofitable is not included here since it has 
nothing whatever to do with the headings beginning with the characteristic, which 
define virtue in the sense intended in this [chapter]. So the threefoldness should be 
understood only in the way already stated. 

39. 14. In the first of the tetrads: 

The unvirtuous he cultivates, 
He visits not the virtuous, 
And in his ignorance he sees 
No fault in a transgression here, [15] 
With wrong thoughts often in his mind 
His faculties he will not guard — 
Virtue in such a constitution 
Comes to partake of diminution. 

But he whose mind is satisfied. 
With virtue that has been achieved, 
Who never thinks to stir himself 
And take a meditation subject up, 
Contented with mere virtuousness, 
Nor striving for a higher state — 
His virtue bears the appellation 
Of that partaking of stagnation. 

But who, possessed of virtue, strives 
With concentration for his aim — 



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That bhikkhu's virtue in its function 
Is called partaking of distinction. 

Who finds mere virtue not enough 
But has dispassion for his goal — 
His virtue through such aspiration 
Comes to partake of penetration. 

So it is of four kinds as partaking of diminution, and so on. 

40. 15. In the second tetrad there are training precepts announced for bhikkhus to 
keep irrespective of what is announced for bhikkhunis. This is the virtue of bhikkhus. 
There are training precepts announced for bhikkhunis to keep irrespective of what is 
announced for bhikkhus. This is the virtue of bhikkhunis. The ten precepts of virtue for 
male and female novices are the virtue of the not fully admitted. The five training 
precepts — ten when possible — as a permanent undertaking and eight as the factors of 
the Uposatha Day, 10 for male and female lay followers are the virtue of the laity. So it is 
of four kinds as the virtue of bhikkhus, and so on. 

41 . 16. In the third tetrad the non- transgression on the part of Uttarakuru human 
beings is natural virtue. Each clan's or locality's or sect's own rules of conduct are 
customary virtue. The virtue of the Bodhisatta's mother described thus: "It is the 
necessary rule, Ananda, that when the Bodhisatta has descended into his mother's 
womb, no thought of men that is connected with the cords of sense desire comes to 
her" (D II 13), is necessary virtue. But the virtue of such pure beings as Maha Kassapa, 
etc., and of the Bodhisatta in his various births is virtue due to previous causes. So it 
is of four kinds as natural virtue, and so on. 

42. 17. In the fourth tetrad: 

(a) The virtue described by the Blessed One thus: "Here a bhikkhu dwells 
restrained with the Patimokkha restraint, possessed of the [proper] conduct and 
resort, and seeing fear in the slightest fault, he trains himself by undertaking the 
precepts of training, (Vibh 244)" is virtue of Patimokkha restraint. 

(b) That described thus: "On seeing a visible object with the eye, [16] he 
apprehends neither the signs nor the particulars through which, if he left the eye 
faculty unguarded, evil and unprofitable states of covetousness and grief might 
invade him; he enters upon the way of its restraint, he guards the eye faculty, 
undertakes the restraint of the eye faculty. On hearing a sound with the ear . . . On 
smelling an odour with the nose . . . On tasting a flavour with the tongue . . . On 

10. Uposatha (der. from upavasati, to observe or to prepare) is the name for the day of 
"fasting" or "vigil" observed on the days of the new moon, waxing half moon, full 
moon, and waning half moon. On these days it is customary for laymen to undertake 
the Eight Precepts (sila) or Five Precepts. On the new-moon and full-moon days the 
Patimokkha (see note 11) is recited by bhikkhus. The two quarter-moon days are called 
the "eighth of the half moon." The Full-moon day is called the "fifteenth" (i.e. fifteen 
days from the new moon) and is the last day of the lunar month. That of the new moon 
is called the "fourteenth" when it is the second and fourth new moon of the four- 
month season (i.e. fourteen days from the full moon), the other two are called the 
"fifteenth." This compensates for the irregularities of the lunar period. 

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touching a tangible object with the body . . . On cognizing a mental object with the 
mind, he apprehends neither the signs nor the particulars through which, if he left 
the mind faculty unguarded, evil and unprofitable states of covetousness and grief 
might invade him; he enters upon the way of its restraint, he guards the mind 
faculty, undertakes the restraint of the mind faculty (M 1 180), is virtue of restraint of 
the sense faculties. 

(c) Abstinence from such wrong livelihood as entails transgression of the six training 
precepts announced with respect to livelihood and entails the evil states beginning 
with "Scheming, talking, hinting, belittling, pursuing gain with gain" (M II 75) is virtue 
of livelihood purification. 

(d) Use of the four requisites that is purified by the reflection stated in the way 
beginning, "Reflecting wisely, he uses the robe only for protection from cold" (M I 
10) is called virtue concerning requisites. 

43. Here is an explanatory exposition together with a word commentary starting 
from the beginning. 

(a) Here: in this dispensation. A bhikkhu: a clansman who has gone forth out of 
faith and is so styled because he sees fear in the round of rebirths (samsare bhayarn 
ikkhanata) or because he wears cloth garments that are torn and pieced together, 
and so on. 

Restrained with the Patimokkha restraint: here "Patimokkha" (Rule of the 
Community) 11 is the virtue of the training precepts; for it frees (mokkheti) him who 
protects (pat i) it, guards it, it sets him free (mocayati) from the pains of the states of 
loss, etc., that is why it is called Patimokkha. "Restraint" is restraining; this is a term 
for bodily and verbal non-transgression. The Patimokkha itself as restraint is 
"Patimokkha restraint." "Restrained with the Patimokkha restraint" is restrained 
by means of the restraint consisting in that Patimokkha; he has it, possesses it, is 
the meaning. Dwells: bears himself in one of the postures. [17] 

44. The meaning of possessed of [the proper] conduct and resort, etc., should be 
understood in the way in which it is given in the text. For this is said: "Possessed of 
[the proper] conduct and resort: there is [proper] conduct and improper conduct. 
Herein, what is improper conduct? Bodily transgression, verbal transgression, 
bodily and verbal transgression — this is called improper conduct. Also all 
unvirtuousness is improper conduct. Here someone makes a livelihood by gifts of 
bamboos, or by gifts of leaves, or by gifts of flowers, fruits, bathing powder, and 
tooth sticks, or by flattery, or by bean-soupery or by fondling, or by going on errands 
on foot, or by one or other of the sorts of wrong livelihood condemned by the 
Buddhas — this is called improper conduct. Herein, what is [proper] conduct? Bodily 

11. The Suttavibhariga, the first book of the Vinaya Pitaka, contains in its two parts 
the 227 rules for bhikkhus and the rules for bhikkhunis, who have received the admission 
(upasampada), together with accounts of the incidents that led to the announcement of 
the rules, the modification of the rules and the explanations of them. The bare rules 
themselves form the Patimokkha for bhikkhus and that for bhikkhunis. They are also 
known as the "two codes" (dve matika). The Patimokkha is recited by bhikkhus on the 
Uposatha days of the full moon and new moon. 

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non-transgression, verbal non-transgression, bodily and verbal non-transgression — 
this is called [proper] conduct. Also all restraint through virtue is [proper] conduct. 
Here someone "does not make a livelihood by gifts of bamboos, or by gifts of 
leaves, or by gifts of flowers, fruits, bathing powder, and tooth sticks, or by flattery, 
or by bean-soupery or by fondling, or by going on errands on foot, or by one or 
other of the sorts of wrong livelihood condemned by the Buddhas — this is called 
[proper] conduct." 

45. "[Proper] resort: there is [proper] resort and improper resort. Herein, what is 
improper resort? Here someone has prostitutes as resort, or he has widows, old 
maids, eunuchs, bhikkhums, or taverns as resort; or he dwells associated with kings, 
kings' ministers, sectarians, sectarians' disciples, in unbecoming association with 
laymen; or he cultivates, frequents, honours, such families as are faithless, 
untrusting, abusive and rude, who wish harm, wish ill, wish woe, wish no surcease 
of bondage, forbhikkhus and bhikkhums, for male and female devotees [18] — this 
is called improper resort. Herein, what is [proper] resort? Here someone does not 
have prostitutes as resort ... or taverns as resort; he does not dwell associated with 
kings . . . sectarians' disciples, in unbecoming association with laymen; he cultivates, 
frequents, honours, such families as are faithful and trusting, who are a solace, 
where the yellow cloth glows, where the breeze of sages blows, who wish good, 
wish well, wish joy, wish surcease of bondage, for bhikkhus and bhikkhums, for 
male and female devotees — this is called [proper] resort. Thus he is furnished with, 
fully furnished with, provided with, fully provided with, supplied with, possessed 
of, endowed with, this [proper] conduct and this [proper] resort. Hence it is said, 
'Possessed of [the proper] conduct and resort'" (Vibh 246-47). 

46. Furthermore, [proper] conduct and resort should also be understood here in 
the following way; for improper conduct is twofold as bodily and verbal. Herein, 
what is bodily improper conduct? "Here someone acts disrespectfully before the 
Community, and he stands jostling elder bhikkhus, sits jostling them, stands in 
front of them, sits in front of them, sits on a high seat, sits with his head covered, 
talks standing up, talks waving his arms . . . walks with sandals while elder bhikkhus 
walk without sandals, walks on a high walk while they walk on a low walk, walks 
on a walk while they walk on the ground . . . stands pushing elder bhikkhus, sits 
pushing them, prevents new bhikkhus from getting a seat . . . and in the bath house 
. . . without asking elder bhikkhus he puts wood on [the stove] . . . bolts the door . . . 
and at the bathing place he enters the water jostling elder bhikkhus, enters it in 
front of them, bathes jostling them, bathes in front of them, comes out jostling 
them, comes out in front of them . . . and entering inside a house he goes jostling 
elder bhikkhus, goes in front of them, pushing forward he goes in front of them . . . 
and where families have inner private screened rooms in which the women of the 
family ... the girls of the family, sit, there he enters abruptly, and he strokes a 
child's head" (Nidd I 228-29). This is called bodily improper conduct. 

47. Herein, what is verbal improper conduct? "Here someone acts disrespectfully 
before the Community. Without asking elder bhikkhus he talks on the Dhamma, 
answers questions, recites the Patimokkha, talks standing up, [19] talks waving his 
arms . . . having entered inside a house, he speaks to a woman or a girl thus: 'You, so- 



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and-so of such-and-such a clan, what is there? Is there rice gruel? Is there cooked rice? 
Is there any hard food to eat? What shall we drink? What hard food shall we eat? What 
soft food shall we eat? Or what will you give me?' — he chatters like this" (Nidd 1 230). 
This is called verbal improper conduct. 

48. Proper conduct should be understood in the opposite sense to that. 
Furthermore, a bhikkhu is respectful, deferential, possessed of conscience and 
shame, wears his inner robe properly, wears his upper robe properly, his manner 
inspires confidence whether in moving forwards or backwards, looking ahead or 
aside, bending or stretching, his eyes are downcast, he has (a good) deportment, 
he guards the doors of his sense faculties, knows the right measure in eating, is 
devoted to wakefulness, possesses mindfulness and full awareness, wants little, is 
contented, is strenuous, is a careful observer of good behaviour, and treats the 
teachers with great respect. This is called (proper) conduct. 

This firstly is how (proper) conduct should be understood. 

49. (Proper) resort is of three kinds: (proper) resort as support, (proper) resort as 
guarding, and (proper) resort as anchoring. Herein, what is (proper) resort as 
support? A good friend who exhibits the instances of talk, 12 in whose presence one 
hears what has not been heard, corrects what has been heard, gets rid of doubt, 
rectifies one's view, and gains confidence; or by training under whom one grows 
in faith, virtue, learning, generosity and understanding — this is called (proper) resort 
as support. 

50. What is (proper) resort as guarding? Here "A bhikkhu, having entered inside 
a house, having gone into a street, goes with downcast eyes, seeing the length of a 
plough yoke, restrained, not looking at an elephant, not looking at a horse, a carriage, 
a pedestrian, a woman, a man, not looking up, not looking down, not staring this 
way and that" (Nidd I 474). This is called (proper) resort as guarding. 

51 . What is (proper) resort as anchoring? It is the four foundations of mindfulness 
on which the mind is anchored; for this is said by the Blessed One: "Bhikkhus, 
what is a bhikkhu's resort, his own native place? It is these four foundations of 
mindfulness" (S V 148). This is called (proper) resort as anchoring. 

Being thus furnished with ... endowed with, this (proper) conduct and this 
(proper) resort, he is also on that account called "one possessed of (proper) conduct 
and resort." [20] 

52. Seeing fear in the slightest fault (§42): one who has the habit (slid) of seeing fear 
in faults of the minutest measure, of such kinds as unintentional contravening of a 
minor training rule of the Patimokkha, or the arising of unprofitable thoughts. He 
trains himself by undertaking (samadaya) the precepts of training: whatever there is 
among the precepts of training to be trained in, in all that he trains by taking it up 

12. The "ten instances of talk" (dasa kathavatthuni) refer to the kinds of talk given in 
the Suttas thus: "Such talk as is concerned with effacement, as favours the heart's release, 
as leads to complete dispassion, fading, cessation, peace, direct knowledge, 
enlightenment, Nibbana, that is to say: talk on wanting little, contentment, seclusion, 
aloofness from contact, strenuousness, virtue, concentration, understanding, 
deliverance, knowledge and vision of deliverance" (M 1 145; III 113). 

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rightly (samma adaya). And here, as far as the words, "one restrained by the 
Patimokkha restraint," virtue of Patimokkha restraint is shown by discourse in 
terms of persons. 13 But all that beginning with the words, "possessed of [proper] 
conduct and resort" should be understood as said in order to show the way of 
practice that perfects that virtue in him who so practices it. 

53. (b) Now, as regards the virtue of restraint of faculties shown next to that in the 
way beginning, "on seeing a visible object with the eye," herein he is a bhikkhu 
established in the virtue of Patimokkha restraint. On seeing a visible object with the eye: 
on seeing a visible object with the eye-consciousness that is capable of seeing visible 
objects and has borrowed the name "eye" from its instrument. But the Ancients (porana) 
said: "The eye does not see a visible object because it has no mind. The mind does not 
see because it has no eyes. But when there is the impingement of door and object he 
sees by means of the consciousness that has eye-sensitivity as its physical basis. Now, 
(an idiom) such as this is called an 'accessory locution' (sasambharakatha), like 'He shot 
him with his bow/ and so on. So the meaning here is this: 'On seeing a visible object 
with eye-consciousness.'" 14 

54. Apprehends neither the signs: he does not apprehend the sign of woman or 
man, or any sign that is a basis for defilement such as the sign of beauty, etc.; he 
stops at what is merely seen. Nor the particulars: he does not apprehend any aspect 
classed as hand, foot, smile, laughter, talk, looking ahead, looking aside, etc., which 
has acquired the name "particular" (anubyanjana) because of its particularizing 
(anu anu byanjanato) defilements, because of its making them manifest themselves. 



13. See Ch. IV n. 27. 

14. "'On seeing a visible object with the eye": if the eye were to see the visible object, then 
(organs) belonging to other kinds of consciousness would see too; but that is not so. 
Why? Because the eye has no thought (acetanatta). And then, were consciousness itself 
to see a visible object, it would see it even behind a wall because of being independent 
of sense resistance (appatighabhavato); but that is not so either because there is no seeing 
in all kinds of consciousness. And herein, it is consciousness dependent on the eye that 
sees, not just any kind. And that does not arise with respect to what is enclosed by 
walls, etc., where light is excluded. But where there is no exclusion of light, as in the 
case of a crystal or a mass of cloud, there it does arise even with respect to what is 
enclosed by them. So it is as a basis of consciousness that the eye sees. 

"'When there is the impingement of door and object': what is intended is: when a visible 
datum as object has come into the eye's focus. 'One sees': one looks (oloketi); for when 
the consciousness that has eye-sensitivity as its material support is disclosing (pbhasente) 
by means of the special quality of its support a visible datum as object that is assisted 
by light (aloka), then it is said that a person possessed of that sees the visible datum. 
And here the illuminating is the revealing of the visible datum according to its individual 
essence, in other words, the apprehending of it experientially (paccakkhato) . 

"Here it is the 'sign of woman' because it is the cause of perceiving as 'woman' all 
such things as the shape that is grasped under the heading of the visible data 
(materiality) invariably found in a female continuity, the un-clear-cut-ness (avisadata) 
of the flesh of the breasts, the beardlessness of the face, the use of cloth to bind the hair, 
the un-clear-cut stance, walk, and so on. The 'sign of man' is in the opposite sense. 



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He only apprehends what is really there. Like the Elder Maha Tissa who dwelt at 
Cetiyapabbata. 

55. It seems that as the elder was on his way from Cetiyapabbata to Anuradhapura 
for alms, a certain daughterinlaw of a clan, who had quarrelled with her husband 
and had set out early from Anuradhapura all dressed up and tricked out like a 
celestial nymph to go to her relatives' home, saw him on the road, and being low- 
minded, [21] she laughed a loud laugh. [Wondering] "What is that?" the elder 
looked up and finding in the bones of her teeth the perception of foulness (ugliness), 
he reached Arahantship 15 Hence it was said: 

"He saw the bones that were her teeth, 
And kept in mind his first perception; 
And standing on that very spot 
The elder became an Arahant." 

But her husband, who was going after her, saw the elder and asked, "Venerable 
sir, did you by any chance see a woman?" The elder told him: 

"Whether it was a man or woman 
That went by I noticed not, 



"'The sign of beauty' here is the aspect of woman that is the cause for the arising of 
lust. By the word 'etc' the sign of resentment (patigha), etc., are included, which should 
be understood as the undesired aspect that is the cause for the arising of hate. And 
here admittedly only covetousness and grief are specified in the text but the sign of 
equanimity needs to be included too; since there is non-restraint in the delusion that 
arises due to overlooking, or since 'forgetfulness of unknowing' is said below (§57). 
And here the 'sign of equanimity' should be understood as an object that is the basis 
for the kind of equanimity associated with unknowing through overlooking it. So 'the 
sign of beauty, etc' given in brief thus is actually the cause of greed, hate, and delusion. 

"'He stops at what is merely seen': according to the Sutta method, 'The seen shall be 
merely seen' (Ud 8). As soon as the colour basis has been apprehended by the 
consciousnesses of the cognitive series with eye-consciousness he stops; he does not 
fancy any aspect of beauty etc., beyond that. ... In one who fancies as beautiful, etc., the 
limbs of the opposite sex, defilements arisen with respect to them successively become 
particularized, which is why they are called 'particulars.' But these are simply modes 
of interpreting (sannivesakara) the kinds of materiality derived from the (four) primaries 
that are interpreted (sannivittha) in such and such wise; for apart from that there is in 
the ultimate sense no such thing as a hand and so on" (Vism-mht 40-41). See also Ch. 
Ill, note 31. 

15. "As the elder was going along (occupied) only in keeping his meditation subject 
in mind, since noise is a thorn to those in the early stage, he looked up with the noise of 
the laughter, (wondering) 'What is that?' 'Perception of foulness' is perception of bones; 
for the elder was then making bones his meditation subject. The elder, it seems as soon 
as he saw her teeth-bones while she was laughing, got the counterpart sign with access 
jhana because he had developed the preliminary-work well. While he stood there he 
reached the first jhana. Then he made that the basis for insight, which he augmented 
until he attained the paths one after the other and reached destruction of cankers" 
(Vism-mht 41-42). 



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But only that on this high road 
There goes a group of bones." 

56. As to the words through which, etc., the meaning is: by reason of which, because 
of which non-restraint of the eye faculty, if he, if that person, left the eye faculty 
unguarded, remained with the eye door unclosed by the door-panel of mindfulness, 
these states ofcovetousness, etc., might invade, might pursue, might threaten, him. He 
enters upon the way of its restraint: he enters upon the way of closing that eye faculty 
by the door-panel of mindfulness. It is the same one of whom it is said he guards the 
eye faculty, undertakes the restraint of the eye faculty. 

57. Herein, there is neither restraint nor non-restraint in the actual eye faculty, 
since neither mindfulness nor forgetfulness arises in dependence on eye-sensitivity 
On the contrary when a visible datum as object comes into the eye's focus, then, 
after the life-continuum has arisen twice and ceased, the functional mind-element 
accomplishing the function of adverting arises and ceases. After that, eye- 
consciousness with the function of seeing; after that, resultant mind-element with 
the function of receiving; after that, resultant root-causeless mind-consciousness- 
element with the function of investigating; after that, functional root-causeless 
mind-consciousness-element accomplishing the function of determining arises and 
ceases. Next to that, impulsion impels. 16 Herein, there is neither restraint nor non- 
restraint on the occasion of the life-continuum, or on any of the occasions beginning 
with adverting. But there is non-restraint if unvirtuousness or forgetfulness or 
unknowing or impatience or idleness arises at the moment of impulsion. When 
this happens, it is called "non-restraint in the eye faculty." [22] 

58. Why is that? Because when this happens, the door is not guarded, nor are the 
life-continuum and the consciousnesses of the cognitive series. Like what? Just as, when 
a city's four gates are not secured, although inside the city house doors, storehouses, 
rooms, etc., are secured, yet all property inside the city is unguarded and unprotected 
since robbers coming in by the city gates can do as they please, so too, when 
unvirtuousness, etc., arise in impulsion in which there is no restraint, then the door too 
is unguarded, and so also are the life-continuum and the consciousnesses of the 
cognitive series beginning with adverting. But when virtue, etc., has arisen in it, then 
the door too is guarded and so also are the life-continuum and the consciousnesses of 

16. To expect to find in the Paramatthamanjusa an exposition of the "cognitive series" 
(citta-vithi), and some explanation of the individual members in addition to what is to 
be found in the Visuddhimagga itself, is to be disappointed. There are only fragmentary 
treatments. All that is said here is this: 

"There is no unvirtuousness, in other words, bodily or verbal misconduct, in the 
five doors; consequently restraint of unvirtuousness happens through the mind door, 
and the remaining restraint happens through the six doors. For the arising of 
forgetfulness and the other three would be in the five doors since they are unprofitable 
states opposed to mindfulness, etc.; and there is no arising of unvirtuousness consisting 
in bodily and verbal transgression there because five-door impulsions do not give rise 
to intimation. And the five kinds of non-restraint beginning with unvirtuousness are 
stated here as the opposite of the five kinds of restraint beginning with restraint as 
virtue" (Vism-mht 42). See also Ch. IV note 13. 

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the cognitive series beginning with adverting. Like what? Just as, when the city gates 
are secured, although inside the city the houses, etc., are not secured, yet all property 
inside the city is well guarded, well protected, since when the city gates are shut there 
is no ingress for robbers, so too, when virtue, etc., have arisen in impulsion, the door 
too is guarded and so also are the life-continuum and the consciousnesses of the 
cognitive series beginning with adverting. Thus although it actually arises at the moment 
of impulsion, it is nevertheless called "restraint in the eye faculty" 

59. So also as regards the phrases on hearing a sound with the ear and so on. So it is 
this virtue, which in brief has the characteristic of avoiding apprehension of signs 
entailing defilement with respect to visible objects, etc., that should be understood 
as virtue of restraint of faculties. 

60. (c) Now, as regards the virtue of livelihood purification mentioned above next 
to the virtue of restraint of the faculties (§42), the words of the six precepts announced 
on account of livelihood mean, of the following six training precepts announced thus: 
"With livelihood as cause, with livelihood as reason, one of evil wishes, a prey to 
wishes, lays claim to a higher than human state that is non-existent, not a fact," the 
contravention of which is defeat (expulsion from the Order); "with livelihood as 
cause, with livelihood as reason, he acts as go-between," the contravention of which 
is an offence entailing a meeting of the Order; "with livelihood as cause, with 
livelihood as reason, he says, 'A bhikkhu who lives in your monastery is an 
Arahant,'" the contravention of which is a serious offence in one who is aware of it; 
"with livelihood as cause, with livelihood as reason, a bhikkhu who is not sick eats 
superior food that he has ordered for his own use," the contravention of which is 
an offence requiring expiation: "With livelihood as cause, with livelihood as reason, 
a bhikkhuni who is not sick eats superior food that she has ordered for her own 
use," the contravention of which is an offence requiring confession; "with livelihood 
as cause, with livelihood as reason, one who is not sick eats curry or boiled rice 
[23] that he has ordered for his own use," the contravention of which is an offence 
of wrongdoing (Vin V 146). Of these six precepts. 17 

61. As regards scheming, etc. (§42), this is the text: "Herein, what is scheming? It 
is the grimacing, grimacery scheming, schemery schemedness, 18 by what is called 
rejection of requisites or by indirect talk, or it is the disposing, posing, composing, 
of the deportment on the part of one bent on gain, honour and renown, of one of 
evil wishes, a prey to wishes — this is called scheming. 

62. "Herein, what is talking? Talking at others, talking, talking round, talking up, 
continual talking up, persuading, continual persuading, suggesting, continual 
suggesting, ingratiating chatter, flattery, bean-soupery fondling, on the part of one 
bent on gain, honour and renown, of one of evil wishes, a prey to wishes — this is 
called talking. 

17. This apparently incomplete sentence is also in the Pali text. It is not clear why. 
(BPSEd.) 

18. The formula "kuhana kuhayana kuhitattam," i.e. verbal noun in two forms and 
abstract noun from pp., all from the same root, is common in Abhidhamma definitions. 
It is sometimes hard to produce a corresponding effect in English, yet to render such 
groups with words of different derivation obscures the meaning and confuses the effect. 

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63. "Herein, what is hinting? A sign to others, giving a sign, indication, giving 
indication, indirect talk, roundabout talk, on the part of one bent on gain, honour 
and renown, of one of evil wishes, a prey to wishes — this is called hinting. 

64. "Herein, what is belittling? Abusing of others, disparaging, reproaching, 
snubbing, continual snubbing, ridicule, continual ridicule, denigration, continual 
denigration, tale-bearing, backbiting, on the part of one bent on gain, honour and 
renown, of one of evil wishes, a prey to wishes — this is called belittling. 

65. "Herein, what is pursuing gain with gain? Seeking, seeking for, seeking out, going 
in search of, searching for, searching out material goods by means of material goods, 
such as carrying there goods that have been got from here, or carrying here goods that 
have been got from there, by one bent on gain, honour and renown, by one of evil 
wishes, a prey to wishes — this is called pursuing gain with gain." 19 (Vibh 352-53) 

66. The meaning of this text should be understood as follows: Firstly, as regards 
description of scheming: on the part of one bent on gain, honour and renown is on the 
part of one who is bent on gain, on honour, and on reputation; on the part of one 
who longs for them, is the meaning. [24] Of one of evil wishes: of one who wants to 
show qualities that he has not got. A prey to wishes: 20 the meaning is, of one who is 
attacked by them. And after this the passage beginning or by what is called rejection 
of requisites is given in order to show the three instances of scheming given in the 
Mahaniddesa as rejection of requisites, indirect talk, and that based on deportment. 

67. Herein, [a bhikkhu] is invited to accept robes, etc., and, precisely because he 
wants them, he refuses them out of evil wishes. And then, since he knows that 
those householders believe in him implicitly when they think, "Oh, how few are 
our lord's wishes! He will not accept a thing!" and they put fine robes, etc., before 
him by various means, he then accepts, making a show that he wants to be 
compassionate towards them — it is this hypocrisy of his, which becomes the cause 
of their subsequently bringing them even by cartloads, that should be understood 
as the instance of scheming called rejection of requisites. 

68. For this is said in the Mahaniddesa: "What is the instance of scheming called 
rejection of requisites? Here householders invite bhikkhus [to accept] robes, alms 
food, resting place, and the requisite of medicine as cure for the sick. One who is of 
evil wishes, a prey to wishes, wanting robes . . . alms food . . . resting place . . . the 
requisite of medicine as cure for the sick, refuses robes ... alms food ... resting 
place . . . the requisite of medicine as cure for the sick, because he wants more. He 
says: 'What has an ascetic to do with expensive robes? It is proper for an ascetic to 
gather rags from a charnel ground or from a rubbish heap or from a shop and 
make them into a patchwork cloak to wear. What has an ascetic to do with expensive 



19. The renderings "scheming" and so on in this context do not in all cases agree 
with PED. They have been chosen after careful consideration. The rendering "rejection 
of requisites" takes the preferable reading patisedhana though the more common reading 
here is patisevana (cultivation). 

20 The Pali is: "Icchapakatassa ti icchaya apakatassa; upaddutassa ti attho. " lechaya apakatassa 
simply resolves the compound icchapakatassa and is therefore untranslatable into 
English. Such resolutions are therefore sometimes omitted in this translation. 



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Chapter I Description of Virtue 

alms food? It is proper for an ascetic to get his living by the dropping of lumps [of 
food into his bowl] while he wanders for gleanings. What has an ascetic to do with 
an expensive resting place? It is proper for an ascetic to be a tree-root-dweller or an 
open-air-dweller. What has an ascetic to do with an expensive requisite of medicine 
as cure for the sick? It is proper for an ascetic to cure himself with putrid urine 21 
and broken gallnuts.' Accordingly he wears a coarse robe, eats coarse alms food, 
[25] uses a coarse resting place, uses a coarse requisite of medicine as cure for the 
sick. Then householders think, 'This ascetic has few wishes, is content, is secluded, 
keeps aloof from company, is strenuous, is a preacher of asceticism,' and they invite 
him more and more [to accept] robes, alms food, resting places, and the requisite 
of medicine as cure for the sick. He says: 'With three things present a faithful 
clansman produces much merit: with faith present a faithful clansman produces 
much merit, with goods to be given present a faithful clansman produces much 
merit, with those worthy to receive present a faithful clansman produces much 
merit. You have faith; the goods to be given are here; and I am here to accept. If I 
do not accept, then you will be deprived of the merit. That is no good to me. Rather 
will I accept out of compassion for you." Accordingly he accepts many robes, he 
accepts much alms food, he accepts many resting places, he accepts many requisites 
of medicine as cure for the sick. Such grimacing, grimacery scheming, schemery 
schemedness, is known as the instance of scheming called rejection of requisites' 
(Nidd I 224-25). 

69. It is hypocrisy on the part of one of evil wishes, who gives it to be understood 
verbally in some way or other that he has attained a higher than human state, that 
should be understood as the instance of scheming called indirect talk, according 
as it is said: "What is the instance of scheming called indirect talk? Here someone 
of evil wishes, a prey to wishes, eager to be admired, [thinking] 'Thus people will 
admire me' speaks words about the noble state. He says, 'He who wears such a 
robe is a very important ascetic' He says, 'He who carries such a bowl, metal cup, 
water filler, water strainer, key, wears such a waist band, sandals, is a very important 
ascetic' He says, 'He who has such a preceptor ... teacher ... who has the same 
preceptor, who has the same teacher, who has such a friend, associate, intimate, 
companion; he who lives in such a monastery, lean-to, mansion, villa, 22 cave, grotto, 
hut, pavilion, watch tower, hall, barn, meeting hall, [26] room, at such a tree root, is 
a very important ascetic' Or alternatively, all-gushing, all-grimacing, all-scheming, 
all-talkative, with an expression of admiration, he utters such deep, mysterious, 
cunning, obscure, supramundane talk suggestive of voidness as 'This ascetic is an 
obtainer of peaceful abidings and attainments such as these.' Such grimacing, 
grimacery, scheming, schemery, schemedness, is known as the instance of scheming 
called indirect talk" (Nidd I 226-27). 

70. It is hypocrisy on the part of one of evil wishes, which takes the form of deportment 
influenced by eagerness to be admired, that should be understood as the instance of 

21 "'Putrid urine' is the name for all kinds of cow's urine whether old or not" (Vism- 
mht 45). Fermented cow's urine with gallnuts (myrobalan) is a common Indian medicine 
today. 

22 It is not always certain now what kind of buildings these names refer to. 

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scheming dependent on deportment, according as it is said: "What is the instance of 
scheming called deportment? Here someone of evil wishes, a prey to wishes, eager to 
be admired, [thinking] 'Thus people will admire me,' composes his way of walking, 
composes his way of lying down; he walks studiedly, stands studiedly, sits studiedly, 
lies down studiedly; he walks as though concentrated, stands, sits, lies down as though 
concentrated; and he is one who meditates in public. Such disposing, posing, 
composing, of deportment, grimacing, grimacery scheming, schemery schemedness, 
is known as the instance of scheming called deportment" (Nidd I 225-26). 

71. Herein, the words by what is called rejection of requisites (§61) mean: by what is 
called thus "rejection of requisites"; or they mean: by means of the rejection of 
requisites that is so called. By indirect talk means: by talking near to the subject. Of 
deportment means: of the four modes of deportment (postures). Disposing is initial 
posing, or careful posing. Posing is the manner of posing. Composing is prearranging; 
assuming a trust-inspiring attitude, is what is meant. Grimacing is making grimaces 
by showing great intenseness; facial contraction is what is meant. One who has the 
habit of making grimaces is a grimacer. The grimacer's state is grimacery. Scheming 
is hypocrisy. The way (ayana) of a schemer (kuha) is schemery (kuhayana). The state 
of what is schemed is schemedness. 

72. In the description of talking: talking at is talking thus on seeing people coming 
to the monastery, "What have you come for, good people? What, to invite bhikkhus? 
If it is that, then go along and I shall come later with [my bowl]," etc.; or alternatively, 
talking at is talking by advertising oneself thus, "I am Tissa, the king trusts me, 
such and such king's ministers trust me." [27] Talking is the same kind of talking 
on being asked a question. Talking round is roundly talking by one who is afraid of 
householders' displeasure because he has given occasion for it. Talking up is talking 
by extolling people thus, "He is a great land-owner, a great ship-owner, a great 
lord of giving." Continual talking up is talking by extolling [people] in all ways. 

73. Persuading is progressively involving 23 [people] thus, "Lay followers, formerly you 
used to give first-fruit alms at such a time; why do you not do so now?" until they say, 
"We shall give, venerable sir, we have had no opportunity," etc.; entangling, is what is 
meant. Or alternatively, seeing someone with sugarcane in his hand, he asks, "Where 
are you coming from, lay follower?" — "From the sugarcane field, venerable sir" — "Is 
the sugarcane sweet there?" — "One can find out by eating, venerable sir" — "It is not 
allowed, lay follower, for bhikkhus to say 'Give [me some] sugarcane.'" Such entangling 
talk from such an entangler is persuading. Persuading again and again in all ways is 
continual persuading. 

74. Suggesting is insinuating by specifying thus, "That family alone understands 
me; if there is anything to be given there, they give it to me only"; pointing to, is 
what is meant. And here the story of the oil-seller should be told. 24 Suggesting in 
all ways again and again is continual suggesting. 

23 Nahana — tying, from nayhati (to tie). The noun in not in PED. 

24 The story of the oil-seller is given in the Sammohavinodanl (Vibh-a 483), which 
reproduces this part of Vism with some additions: "Two bhikkhus, it seems, went into 
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75. Ingratiating chatter is endearing chatter repeated again and again without 
regard to whether it is in conformity with truth and Dhamma. Flattery is speaking 
humbly, always maintaining an attitude of inferiority. Bean-soupery is resemblance 
to bean soup; for just as when beans are being cooked only a few do not get cooked, 
the rest get cooked, so too the person in whose speech only a little is true, the rest 
being false, is called a "bean soup"; his state is bean-soupery. 

76. Fondling is the state of the act of fondling. [28] For when a man fondles children 
on his lap or on his shoulder like a nurse — he nurses, is the meaning — that fondler's 
act is the act of fondling. The state of the act of fondling is fondling. 

77. In the description of hinting (nemittikata): a sign (nimitta) is any bodily or 
verbal act that gets others to give requisites. Giving a sign is making a sign such as 
"What have you got to eat?", etc., on seeing [people] going along with food. 
Indication is talk that alludes to requisites. Giving indication: on seeing cowboys, he 
asks, "Are these milk cows' calves or buttermilk cows' calves?" and when it is said, 
"They are milk cows' calves, venerable sir," [he remarks] "They are not milk cows' 
calves. If they were milk cows' calves the bhikkhus would be getting milk," etc.; 
and his getting it to the knowledge of the boys' parents in this way, and so making 
them give milk, is giving indication. 

78. Indirect talk is talk that keeps near [to the subject]. And here there should be told 
the story of the bhikkhu supported by a family A bhikkhu, it seems, who was supported 
by a family went into the house wanting to eat and sat down. The mistress of the house 
was unwilling to give. Qn seeing him she said, "There is no rice," and she went to a 
neighbour's house as though to get rice. The bhikkhu went into the storeroom. Looking 
round, he saw sugarcane in the corner behind the door, sugar in a bowl, a string of salt 
fish in a basket, rice in a jar, and ghee in a pot. He came out and sat down. When the 
housewife came back, she said, "I did not get any rice." The bhikkhu said, "Lay follower, 
I saw a sign just now that alms will not be easy to get today" — "What, venerable sir?" — 
"I saw a snake that was like sugarcane put in the corner behind the door; looking for 
something to hit it with, I saw a stone like a lump of sugar in a bowl. When the snake 
had been hit with the clod, it spread out a hood like a string of salt fish in a basket, and 
its teeth as it tried to bite the clod were like rice grains in a jar. Then the saliva mixed 
with poison that came out to its mouth in its fury was like ghee put in a pot." She thought, 
"There is no hoodwinking the shaveling," so she gave him the sugarcane [29] and she 
cooked the rice and gave it all to him with the ghee, the sugar and the fish. 

79. Such talk that keeps near [to the subject] should be understood as indirect talk. 
Roundabout talk is talking round and round [the subject] as much as is allowed. 

80. In the description of belittling: abusing is abusing by means of the ten instances 
of abuse. 25 Disparaging is contemptuous talk. Reproaching is enumeration of faults 
such as "He is faithless, he is an unbeliever." Snubbing is taking up verbally thus, 

the other, 'Whose girl is this, venerable sir?' — 'She is the daughter of our supporter the oil- 
seller, friend. When we go to her mother's house and she gives us ghee, she gives it in the 
pot. And this girl too gives it in the pot as her mother does.'" Quoted at Vism-mht 46. 
25. The "ten instances of abuse" (akkosa-vatthu) are given in the Sammohavinodani (Vibh- 
a 340) as: "You are a thief, you are a fool, you are an idiot, you are a camel (ottha), 

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"Don't say that here." Snubbing in all ways, giving grounds and reasons, is continual 
snubbing. Or alternatively, when someone does not give, taking him up thus, "Oh, 
the prince of givers!" is snubbing; and the thorough snubbing thus, "A mighty prince 
of givers!" is continual snubbing. Ridicule is making fun of someone thus, "What 
sort of a life has this man who eats up his seed [grain]?" Continual ridicule is making 
fun of him more thoroughly thus, "What, you say this man is not a giver who 
always gives the words 'There is nothing' to everyone?" 

81 . Denigration 26 is denigrating someone by saying that he is not a giver, or by censuring 
him. All-round denigration is continual denigration. Tale-bearing is bearing tales from 
house to house, from village to village, from district to district, [thinking] "So they 
will give to me out of fear of my bearing tales." Backbiting is speaking censoriously 
behind another's back after speaking kindly to his face; for this is like biting the 
flesh of another's back, when he is not looking, on the part of one who is unable to 
look him in the face; therefore it is called backbiting. This is called belittling 
(nippesikata) because it scrapes off (nippeseti), wipes off, the virtuous qualities of 
others as a bamboo scraper (velupesika) does unguent, or because it is a pursuit of 
gain by grinding (nippimsitva) and pulverizing others' virtuous qualities, like the 
pursuit of perfume by grinding perfumed substances; that is why it is called 
belittling. 

82. 'In the description of pursuing gain with gain: pursuing is hunting after. Got 
from here is got from this house. There is into that house. Seeking is wanting. Seeking 
for is hunting after. Seeking out is hunting after again and again. [30] The story of 
the bhikkhu who went round giving away the alms he had got at first to children 
of families here and there and in the end got milk and gruel should be told here. 
Searching, etc., are synonyms for "seeking," etc., and so the construction here should 
be understood thus: going in search of is seeking; searching for is seeking for; searching 
out is seeking out. 

This is the meaning of scheming, and so on. 

83. Now, [as regards the words] The evil states beginning with (§42): here the words 
beginning with should be understood to include the many evil states given in the 
Brahmajala Sutta in the way beginning, "Or just as some worthy ascetics, while 
eating the food given by the faithful, make a living by wrong livelihood, by such 
low arts as these, that is to say, by palmistry, by fortune-telling, by divining omens, 
by interpreting dreams, marks on the body, holes gnawed by mice; by fire sacrifice, 
by spoon oblation ..." (D I 9). 



you are an ox, you are a donkey, you belong to the states of loss, you belong to hell, you 
are a beast, there is not even a happy or an unhappy destiny to be expected for you" 
(see also Sn-a 364). 

26. The following words of this paragraph are not in PED: Papana (denigration), 
papanam (nt. denigrating), nippeseti (scrapes off — from pimsati? cf. nippesikata — 
"belittling" §§42, 64), nippunchati (wipes off — only punchati in PED), pesika (scraper — not 
in this sense in PED: from same root as nippeseti), nippimsitva (grinding, pounding), 
abbhahga (unguent = abbhahjana, Vism-mht 47). 

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84. So this wrong livelihood entails the transgression of these six training precepts 
announced on account of livelihood, and it entails the evil states beginning with 
"Scheming, talking, hinting, belittling, pursuing gain with gain." And so it is the 
abstinence from all sorts of wrong livelihood that is virtue of livelihood purification, 
the word-meaning of which is this: on account of it they live, thus it is livelihood. 
What is that? It is the effort consisting in the search for requisites. "Purification" is 
purifiedness. "Livelihood purification" is purification of livelihood. 

85. (d) As regards the next kind called virtue concerning requisites, [here is the 
text: "Reflecting wisely, he uses the robe only for protection from cold, for protection 
from heat, for protection from contact with gadflies, flies, wind, burning and 
creeping things, and only for the purpose of concealing the private parts. Reflecting 
wisely, he uses alms food neither for amusement nor for intoxication nor for 
smartening nor for embellishment, but only for the endurance and continuance of 
this body, for the ending of discomfort, and for assisting the life of purity: 'Thus I 
shall put a stop to old feelings and shall not arouse new feelings, and I shall be 
healthy and blameless and live in comfort.' Reflecting wisely, he uses the resting 
place only for the purpose of protection from cold, for protection from heat, for 
protection from contact with gadflies, flies, wind, burning and creeping things, 
and only for the purpose of warding off the perils of climate and enjoying retreat. 
Reflecting wisely, he uses the requisite of medicine as cure for the sick only for 
protection from arisen hurtful feelings and for complete immunity from affliction" 
(M I 10). Herein, reflecting wisely is reflecting as the means and as the way; 27 by 
knowing, by reviewing, is the meaning. And here it is the reviewing stated in the 
way beginning, "For protection from cold" that should be understood as "reflecting 
wisely." 

86. Herein, the robe is any one of those beginning with the inner cloth. He uses: he 
employs; dresses in [as inner cloth], or puts on [as upper garment]. Only [31] is a 
phrase signifying invariability in the definition of a limit 28 of a purpose; the purpose 
in the meditator's making use of the robes is that much only, namely, protection 
from cold, etc., not more than that. From cold: from any kind of cold arisen either 
through disturbance of elements internally or through change in temperature 
externally. For protection: for the purpose of warding off; for the purpose of 
eliminating it so that it may not arouse affliction in the body. For when the body is 
afflicted by cold, the distracted mind cannot be wisely exerted. That is why the 
Blessed One permitted the robe to be used for protection from cold. So in each 
instance, except that from heat means from the heat of fire, the origin of which 
should be understood as forest fires, and so on. 

87. From contact with gadflies and flies, wind and burning and creeping things: here 
gadflies are flies that bite; they are also called "blind flies." Flies are just flies. Wind 
is distinguished as that with dust and that without dust. Burning is burning of the 
sun. Creeping things are any long creatures such as snakes and so on that move by 
crawling. Contact with them is of two kinds: contact by being bitten and contact 

27. For attention (manasi-kara) as the means (upaya) and the way (patha) see M-a I 64. 

28. Avadhi— ■"limit" = odhi: this form is not in PED (see M-a II 292). 



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by being touched. And that does not worry him who sits with a robe on. So he uses 
it for the purpose of protection from such things. 

88. Only: the word is repeated in order to define a subdivision of the invariable 
purpose; for the concealment of the private parts is an invariable purpose; the 
others are purposes periodically. Herein, private parts are any parts of the 
pudendum. For when a member is disclosed, conscience (hiri) is disturbed 
(kuppati), offended. It is called "private parts" (hirikopina) because of the 
disturbance of conscience (hiri-kopana) . For the purpose of concealing the private 
parts: for the purpose of the concealment of those private parts. [As well as the 
reading "hiriko-pina-paticchadanattham] there is a reading "hirikoplnam 
paticchadanattham." 

89. Alms food is any sort of food. For any sort of nutriment is called "alms food" 
(pindapata — lit. "lump-dropping") because of its having been dropped (patitatta) 
into a bhikkhu's bowl during his alms round (pindolya). Or alms food (pindapata) is 
the dropping (pata) of the lumps (pinda); it is the concurrence (sannipata), the 
collection, of alms (bhikkha) obtained here and there, is what is meant. 

Neither for amusement: neither for the purpose of amusement, as with village 
boys, etc.; for the sake of sport, is what is meant. Nor for intoxication: not for the 
purpose of intoxication, as with boxers, etc.; for the sake of intoxication with strength 
and for the sake of intoxication with manhood, is what is meant. [32] Nor for 
smartening: not for the purpose of smartening, as with royal concubines, courtesans, 
etc.; for the sake of plumpness in all the limbs, is what is meant. Nor for embellishment: 
not for the purpose of embellishment, as with actors, dancers, etc.; for the sake of a 
clear skin and complexion, is what is meant. 

90. And here the clause neither for amusement is stated for the purpose of 
abandoning support for delusion; nor for intoxication is said for the purpose of 
abandoning support for hate; nor for smartening nor for embellishment is said for the 
purpose of abandoning support for greed. And neither for amusement nor for 
intoxication is said for the purpose of preventing the arising of fetters for oneself. 
Nor for smartening nor for embellishment is said for the purpose of preventing the 
arising of fetters for another. And the abandoning of both unwise practice and 
devotion to indulgence of sense pleasures should be understood as stated by these 
four. Only has the meaning already stated. 

91. Of this body: of this material body consisting of the four great primaries. For 
the endurance: for the purpose of continued endurance. And continuance: for the 
purpose of not interrupting [life's continued] occurrence, or for the purpose of 
endurance for a long time. He makes use of the alms food for the purpose of the 
endurance, for the purpose of the continuance, of the body, as the owner of an old 
house uses props for his house, and as a carter uses axle grease, not for the purpose 
of amusement, intoxication, smartening, and embellishment. Furthermore, 
endurance is a term for the life faculty. So what has been said as far as the words/or 
the endurance and continuance of this body can be understood to mean: for the purpose 
of maintaining the occurrence of the life faculty in this body. 

92. For the ending of discomfort: hunger is called "discomfort" in the sense of 
afflicting. He makes use of alms food for the purpose of ending that, like anointing 

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a wound, like counteracting heat with cold, and so on. For assisting the life of purity: 
for the purpose of assisting the life of purity consisting in the whole dispensation 
and the life of purity consisting in the path. For while this [bhikkhu] is engaged in 
crossing the desert of existence by means of devotion to the three trainings 
depending on bodily strength whose necessary condition is the use of alms food, 
he makes use of it to assist the life of purity just as those seeking to cross the desert 
used their child's flesh, 29 just as those seeking to cross a river use a raft, and just as 
those seeking to cross the ocean use a ship. 

93. Thus I shall put a stop to old feelings and shall not arouse new feelings: [33] thus as 
a sick man uses medicine, he uses [alms food, thinking]: "By use of this alms food 
I shall put a stop to the old feeling of hunger, and I shall not arouse a new feeling 
by immoderate eating, like one of the [proverbial] brahmans, that is, one who eats 
till he has to be helped up by hand, or till his clothes will not meet, or till he rolls 
there [on the ground], or till crows can peck from his mouth, or until he vomits 
what he has eaten. Or alternatively, there is that which is called 'old feelings' because, 
being conditioned by former kamma, it arises now in dependence on unsuitable 
immoderate eating — I shall put a stop to that old feeling, forestalling its condition 
by suitable moderate eating. And there is that which is called 'new feeling' because 
it will arise in the future in dependence on the accumulation of kamma consisting 
in making improper use [of the requisite of alms food] now — I shall also not arouse 
that new feeling, avoiding by means of proper use the production of its root." This 
is how the meaning should be understood here. What has been shown so far can 
be understood to include proper use [of requisites], abandoning of devotion to 
self -mortification, and not giving up lawful bliss (pleasure). 

94. And I shall be healthy: "In this body, which exists in dependence on requisites, 
I shall, by moderate eating, have health called 'long endurance' since there will be 
no danger of severing the life faculty or interrupting the [continuity of the] 
postures." [Reflecting] in this way, he makes use [of the alms food] as a sufferer 
from a chronic disease does of his medicine. And blameless and live in comfort (lit. 
"and have blamelessness and a comfortable abiding"): he makes use of them 
thinking: "I shall have blamelessness by avoiding improper search, acceptance and 
eating, and I shall have a comfortable abiding by moderate eating." Or he does so 
thinking: "I shall have blamelessness due to absence of such faults as boredom, 
sloth, sleepiness, blame by the wise, etc., that have unseemly immoderate eating as 
their condition; and I shall have a comfortable abiding by producing bodily strength 
that has seemly moderate eating as its condition." Or he does so thinking: "I shall 
have blamelessness by abandoning the pleasure of lying down, lolling and torpor, 
through refraining from eating as much as possible to stuff the belly; and I shall 
have a comfortable abiding by controlling the four postures through eating four or 
five mouthfuls less than the maximum." For this is said: 

29. " 'Child 's flesh" (putta-mamsa) is an allusion to the story (S II 98) of the couple who 
set out to cross a desert with an insufficient food supply but got to the other side by 
eating the flesh of their child who died on the way. The derivation given in PED, "A 
metaphor probably distorted from putamamsa," has no justification. The reference to 
rafts might be to D II 89. 

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With four or five lumps still to eat 

Let him then end by drinking water; 

For energetic bhikkhus' needs 

This should suffice to live in comfort (Th 983). [34] 

Now, what has been shown at this point can be understood as discernment of 
purpose and practice of the middle way. 

95. Resting place (senasana): this is the bed (sena) and seat (asana). For wherever 
one sleeps (seti), whether in a monastery or in a lean-to, etc., that is the bed (sena); 
wherever one seats oneself (asati), sits (nisldati), that is the seat (asana). Both together 
are called "resting-place" (or "abode" — senasana). 

For the purpose of warding off the perils of climate and enjoying retreat: the climate 
itself in the sense of imperilling (parisahana) is "perils of climate" (utu-parissaya) . 
Unsuitable climatic conditions that cause mental distraction due to bodily affliction 
can be warded off by making use of the resting place; it is for the purpose of warding 
off these and for the purpose of the pleasure of solitude, is what is meant. Of 
course, the warding off of the perils of climate is stated by [the phrase] "protection 
from cold," etc., too; but, just as in the case of making use of the robes the 
concealment of the private parts is stated as an invariable purpose while the others 
are periodical [purposes], so here also this [last] should be understood as mentioned 
with reference to the invariable warding off of the perils of climate. Or alternatively, 
this "climate" of the kind stated is just climate; but "perils" are of two kinds: evident 
perils and concealed perils (see Nidd 1 12). Herein, evident perils are lions, tigers, 
etc., while concealed perils are greed, hate, and so on. When a bhikkhu knows and 
reflects thus in making use of the kind of resting place where these [perils] do not, 
owing to unguarded doors and sight of unsuitable visible objects, etc., cause 
affliction, he can be understood as one who "reflecting wisely makes use of the 
resting place for the purpose of warding off the perils of climate." 

96. The requisite of medicine as cure for the sick: here "cure" (paccaya = going against) 
is in the sense of going against (pati-ayana) illness; in the sense of countering, is the 
meaning. This is a term for any suitable remedy. It is the medical man's work 
(bhisakkassa kammam) because it is permitted by him, thus it is medicine (bhesajja). 
Or the cure for the sick itself as medicine is "medicine as cure for the sick." Any 
work of a medical man such as oil, honey, ghee, etc., that is suitable for one who is 
sick, is what is meant. A "requisite" (parikkhara) , however, in such passages as "It is 
well supplied with the requisites of a city" (A IV 106) is equipment; in such passages 
as "The chariot has the requisite of virtue, the axle of jhana, the wheel of energy" 
(S V 6) [35] it is an ornament; in such passages as "The requisites for the life of one 
who has gone into homelessness that should be available" (M I 104), it is an 
accessory. But here both equipment and accessory are applicable. For that medicine 
as a cure for the sick is equipment for maintaining life because it protects by 
preventing the arising of affliction destructive to life; and it is an accessory too 
because it is an instrument for prolonging life. That is why it is called "requisite." 
So it is medicine as cure for the sick and that is a requisite, thus it is a "requisite of 
medicine as cure for the sick." [He makes use of] that requisite of medicine as cure 



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for the sick; any requisite for life consisting of oil, honey, molasses, ghee, etc., that 
is allowed by a medical man as suitable for the sick, is what is meant. 

97. From arisen: from born, become, produced. Hurtful: here "hurt (affliction)" is 
a disturbance of elements, and it is the leprosy, tumours, boils, etc., originated by 
that disturbance. Hurtful (veyyabadhika) because arisen in the form of hurt (byabadha). 
Feelings: painful feelings, feelings resulting from unprofitable kamma — from those 
hurtful feelings. For complete immunity from affliction: for complete freedom from 
pain; so that all that is painful is abandoned, is the meaning. 

This is how this virtue concerning requisites should be understood. In brief its 
characteristic is the use of requisites after wise reflection. The word-meaning here 
is this: because breathing things go (ayanti), move, proceed, using [what they use] 
in dependence on these robes, etc., these robes, etc., are therefore called requisites 
(paccaya = ger. of pat i + ayati); "concerning requisites" is concerning those requisites. 

98. (a) So, in this fourfold virtue, Patimokkha restraint has to be undertaken by 
means of faith. For that is accomplished by faith, since the announcing of training 
precepts is outside the disciples' province; and the evidence here is the refusal of 
the request to [allow disciples to] announce training precepts (see Vin III 9-10). 
Having therefore undertaken through faith the training precepts without exception 
as announced, one should completely perfect them without regard for life. For 
this is said: [36] 

"As a hen guards her eggs, 

Or as a yak her tail, 

Or like a darling child, 

Or like an only eye — 

So you who are engaged 

Your virtue to protect, 

Be prudent at all times 

And ever scrupulous." (Source untraced) 

Also it is said further: "So too, sire, when a training precept for disciples is 
announced by me, my disciples do not transgress it even for the sake of life" (A IV 
201). 

99. And the story of the elders bound by robbers in the forest should be understood 
in this sense. 

It seems that robbers in the Mahavattani Forest bound an elder with black 
creepers and made him lie down. While he lay there for seven days he augmented 
his insight, and after reaching the fruition of non-return, he died there and was 
reborn in the Brahma-world. Also they bound another elder in Tambapanni Island 
(Sri Lanka) with string creepers and made him lie down. When a forest fire came 
and the creepers were not cut, he established insight and attained Nibbana 
simultaneously with his death. When the Elder Abhaya, a preacher of the Digha 
Nikaya, passed by with five hundred bhikkhus, he saw [what had happened] and he 
had the elder's body cremated and a shrine built. Therefore let other clansmen also: 

Maintain the rules of conduct pure, 
Renouncing life if there be need, 



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Rather than break virtue's restraint 
By the World's Saviour decreed. 

100. (b) And as Patimokkha restraint is undertaken out of faith, so restraint of the 
sense faculties should be undertaken with mindfulness. For that is accomplished by 
mindfulness, because when the sense faculties' functions are founded on 
mindfulness, there is no liability to invasion by covetousness and the rest. So, 
recollecting the Fire Discourse, which begins thus, "Better, bhikkhus, the extirpation 
of the eye faculty by a red-hot burning blazing glowing iron spike than the 
apprehension of signs in the particulars of visible objects cognizable by the eye" (S 
IV 168), this [restraint] should be properly undertaken by preventing with 
unremitting mindfulness any apprehension, in the objective fields consisting of 
visible data, etc., of any signs, etc., likely to encourage covetousness, etc., to invade 
consciousness occurring in connection with the eye door, and so on. 

101. [37] When not undertaken thus, virtue of Patimokkha restraint is 
unenduring: it does not last, like a crop not fenced in with branches. And it is 
raided by the robber defilements as a village with open gates is by thieves. And 
lust leaks into his mind as rain does into a badly-roofed house. For this is said: 

"Among the visible objects, sounds, and smells, 
And tastes, and tangibles, guard the faculties; 
For when these doors are open and unguarded, 
Then thieves will come and raid as 'twere a village (?). 

And just as with an ill-roofed house 
The rain comes leaking in, so too 
Will lust come leaking in for sure 
Upon an undeveloped mind" (Dhp 13). 

102. When it is undertaken thus, virtue of Patimokkha restraint is enduring: it 
lasts, like a crop well fenced in with branches. And it is not raided by the robber 
defilements, as a village with well-guarded gates is not by thieves. And lust does 
not leak into his mind, as rain does not into a well-roofed house. For this is said: 

"Among the visible objects, sounds and smells, 
And tastes and tangibles, guard the faculties; 
For when these doors are closed and truly guarded, 
Thieves will not come and raid as 'twere a village (?). 

"And just as with a well-roofed house 
No rain comes leaking in, so too 
No lust comes leaking in for sure 
Upon a well-developed mind" (Dhp 14). 

103. This, however, is the teaching at its very highest. 

This mind is called "quickly transformed" (A 1 10), so restraint of the faculties 
should be undertaken by removing arisen lust with the contemplation of foulness, 
as was done by the Elder Varigisa soon after he had gone forth. [38] 

As the elder was wandering for alms, it seems, soon after going forth, lust arose 
in him on seeing a woman. Thereupon he said to the venerable Ananda: 



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"I am afire with sensual lust. 

And burning flames consume my mind; 

In pity tell me, Gotama, 

How to extinguish it for good" (S 1 188). 

The elder said: 

"You do perceive mistakenly 

That burning flames consume your mind. 

Look for no sign of beauty there, 

For that it is which leads to lust. 

See foulness there and keep your mind 

Harmoniously concentrated; 

Formations see as alien, 

As ill, not self, so this great lust 

May be extinguished, and no more 

Take fire thus ever and again" (S 1 188). 

The elder expelled his lust and then went on with his alms round. 

104. Moreover, a bhikkhu who is fulfilling restraint of the faculties should be like 
the Elder Cittagutta resident in the Great Cave at Kurandaka, and like the Elder 
Maha Mitta resident at the Great Monastery of Coraka. 

105. In the Great Cave of Kurandaka, it seems, there was a lovely painting of the 
Renunciation of the Seven Buddhas. A number of bhikkhus wandering about among 
the dwellings saw the painting and said, "What a lovely painting, venerable sir!" 
The elder said: "For more than sixty years, friends, I have lived in the cave, and I 
did not know whether there was any painting there or not. Now, today, I know it 
through those who have eyes." The elder, it seems, though he had lived there for so 
long, had never raised his eyes and looked up at the cave. And at the door of his 
cave there was a great ironwood tree. And the elder had never looked up at that 
either. He knew it was in flower when he saw its petals on the ground each year. 

106. The king heard of the elder's great virtues, and he sent for him three times, 
desiring to pay homage to him. When the elder did not go, he had the breasts of all 
the women with infants in the town bound and sealed off, [saying] "As long as the 
elder does not come let the children go without milk," [39] Out of compassion for 
the children the elder went to Mahagama. When the king heard [that he had come, 
he said] "Go and bring the elder in. I shall take the precepts." Having had him 
brought up into the inner palace, he paid homage to him and provided him with a 
meal. Then, saying, "Today, venerable sir, there is no opportunity. I shall take the 
precepts tomorrow," he took the elder's bowl. After following him for a little, he 
paid homage with the queen and turned back. As seven days went by thus, whether 
it was the king who paid homage or whether it was the queen, the elder said, 
"May the king be happy." 

107. Bhikkhus asked: "Why is it, venerable sir, that whether it is the king who 
pays the homage or the queen you say 'May the king be happy'?" The elder replied: 
"Friends, I do not notice whether it is the king or the queen." At the end of seven 
days [when it was found that] the elder was not happy living there, he was dismissed 



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by the king. He went back to the Great Cave at Kurandaka. When it was night he 
went out onto his walk. A deity who dwelt in the ironwood tree stood by with a 
torch of sticks. Then his meditation subject became quite clear and plain. The elder, 
[thinking] "How clear my meditation subject is today!" was glad, and immediately 
after the middle watch he reached Arahantship, making the whole rock resound. 30 

108. So when another clansman seeks his own good: 

Let him not be hungry-eyed, 
Like a monkey in the groves, 
Like a wild deer in the woods, 
Like a nervous little child. 
Let him go with eyes downcast 
Seeing a plough yoke's length before, 
That he fall not in the power 
Of the forest-monkey mind. 

109. The Elder Maha Mitta's mother was sick with a poisoned tumour. She told 
her daughter, who as a bhikkhum had also gone forth, "Lady, go to your brother. 
Tell him my trouble and bring back some medicine." She went and told him. The 
elder said: "I do not know how to gather root medicines and such things and concoct 
a medicine from them. But rather I will tell you a medicine: since I went forth I 
have not broken [my virtue of restraint of] the sense faculties by looking at the 
bodily form of the opposite sex with a lustful mind. By this [40] declaration of 
truth may my mother get well. Go and tell the lay devotee and rub her body." She 
went and told her what had happened and then did as she had been instructed. At 
that very moment the lay devotee's tumour vanished, shrinking away like a lump 
of froth. She got up and uttered a cry of joy: "If the Fully Enlightened One were 
still alive, why should he not stroke with his netadorned hand the head of a bhikkhu 
like my son?" So: 

110. Let another noble clansman 
Gone forth in the Dispensation 
Keep, as did the Elder Mitta, 
Perfect faculty restraint. 

111. (c) As restraint of the faculties is to be undertaken by means of mindfulness, so 
livelihood purification is to be undertaken by means of energy. For that is accomplished 
by energy, because the abandoning of wrong livelihood is effected in one who has 
rightly applied energy Abandoning, therefore, unbefitting wrong search, this should 
be undertaken with energy by means of the right kind of search consisting in going on 
alms round, etc., avoiding what is of impure origin as though it were a poisonous 
snake, and using only requisites of pure origin. 

112. Herein, for one who has not taken up the ascetic practices, any requisites obtained 
from the Community from a group of bhikkhus, or from laymen who have confidence 
in his special qualities of teaching the Dhamma, etc., are called "of pure origin." But 

30. "'Making the whole rock resound': 'making the whole rock reverberate as one doing 
so by means of an earth tremor. But some say that is was owing to the cheering of the 
deities who lived there'" (Vism-mht 58). 

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those obtained on alms round, etc., are of extremely pure origin. For one who has 
taken up the ascetic practices, those obtained on alms round, etc., and — as long as this 
is in accordance with the rules of the ascetic practices — from people who have 
confidence in his special qualities of asceticism, are called "of pure origin." And if he 
has got putrid urine with mixed gall nuts and "four-sweets" 31 for the purpose of curing 
a certain affliction, and he eats only the broken gall nuts, thinking, "Other companions 
in the life of purity will eat the 'four-sweets'," his undertaking of the ascetic practices 
is befitting, for he is then called a bhikkhu who is supreme in the Noble Ones' heritages 
(A II 28). 

113. As to the robe and the other requisites, no hint, indication, roundabout talk, 
or intimation about robes and alms food is allowable for a bhikkhu who is purifying 
his livelihood. But a hint, indication, or roundabout talk about a resting place is 
allowable for one who has not taken up the ascetic practices. [41] 

114. Herein, a "hint" is when one who is getting the preparing of the ground, 
etc., done for the purpose of [making] a resting place is asked, "What is being 
done, venerable sir? Who is having it done?" and he replies, "No one"; or any 
other such giving of hints. An "indication" is saying, "Lay follower, where do you 
live?" — "In a mansion, venerable sir" — "But, lay follower, a mansion is not allowed 
forbhikkhus." Or any other such giving of indication. "Roundabout talk" is saying, 
"The resting place for the Community of Bhikkhus is crowded"; or any other such 
oblique talk. 

115. All, however, is allowed in the case of medicine. But when the disease is 
cured, is it or is it not allowed to use the medicine obtained in this way? Herein, 
the Vinaya specialists say that the opening has been given by the Blessed One, 
therefore it is allowable. But the Suttanta specialists say that though there is no 
offence, nevertheless the livelihood is sullied, therefore it is not allowable. 

116. But one who does not use hints, indications, roundabout talk, or intimation, 
though these are permitted by the Blessed One, and who depends only on the 
special qualities of fewness of wishes, etc., and makes use only of requisites obtained 
otherwise than by indication, etc., even when he thus risks his life, is called supreme 
in living in effacement, like the venerable Sariputta. 

117. It seems that the venerable one was cultivating seclusion at one time, living 
in a certain forest with the Elder Maha Moggallana. One day an affliction of colic 
arose in him, causing him great pain. In the evening the Elder Maha Moggallana 
went to attend upon him. Seeing him lying down, he asked what the reason was. 
And then he asked, "What used to make you better formerly, friend?" The elder 
said, "When I was a layman, friend, my mother used to mix ghee, honey, sugar 
and so on, and give me rice gruel with pure milk. That used to make me better." 
Then the other said, "So be it, friend. If either you or I have merit, perhaps tomorrow 
we shall get some." 

118. Now, a deity who dwelt in a tree at the end of the walk overheard their 
conversation. [Thinking] "I will find rice gruel for the lord tomorrow," he went 

31. "Four-sweets" — catumadhura: a medicinal sweet made of four ingredients: honey 
palm-sugar, ghee and sesame oil. 

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meanwhile to the family who was supporting the elder [42] and entered into the 
body of the eldest son, causing him discomfort. Then he told the assembled relatives 
the price of the cure: "If you prepare rice gruel of such a kind tomorrow for the 
elder, I will set this one free." They said: "Even without being told by you we 
regularly supply the elder's needs," and on the following day they prepared rice 
gruel of the kind needed. 

119. The Elder Maha Moggallana came in the morning and said, "Stay here, friend, 
till I come back from the alms round." Then he went into the village. Those people 
met him. They took his bowl, filled it with the stipulated kind of rice gruel, and 
gave it back to him. The elder made as though to go, but they said, "Eat, venerable 
sir, we shall give you more." When the elder had eaten, they gave him another 
bowlful. The elder left. Bringing the alms food to the venerable Sariputta, he said, 
"Here, friend Sariputta, eat." When the elder saw it, he thought, "The gruel is very 
nice. How was it got?" and seeing how it had been obtained, he said, "Friend, the 
alms food cannot be used." 

120. Instead of thinking, "He does not eat alms food brought by the likes of me," 
the other at once took the bowl by the rim and turned it over on one side. As the 
rice gruel fell on the ground the elder's affliction vanished. From then on it did not 
appear again during forty-five years. 

121 . Then he said to the venerable Maha Moggallana, "Friend, even if one's bowels 
come out and trail on the ground, it is not fitting to eat gruel got by verbal 
intimation," and he uttered this exclamation: 

My livelihood might well be blamed 
If I were to consent to eat 
The honey and the gruel obtained 
By influence of verbal hints. 

And even if my bowels obtrude 
And trail outside, and even though 
My life is to be jeopardized, 
I will not blot my livelihood (Mil 370). 

For I will satisfy my heart 

By shunning all wrong kinds of search; 

And never will I undertake 

The search the Buddhas have condemned. [43] 

122 And here too should be told the story of the Elder Maha Tissa the Mango- 
eater who lived at Qragumba 32 (see §132 below). So in all respects: 

32. "The Elder Maha Tissa, it seems, was going on a journey during a famine, and 
being tired in body and weak through lack of food and travel weariness, he lay down at 
the root of a mango tree covered with fruit. There were many fallen mangoes here and 
there" (Vism-mht 60). "Through ownerless mangoes were lying fallen on the ground 
near him, he would not eat them in the absence of someone to accept them from" (Vism- 
mht 65). "Then a lay devotee, who was older than he, went to the elder, and learning of 
his exhaustion, gave him mango juice to drink. Then he mounted him on his back and 



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Chapter I Description of Virtue 

A man who has gone forth in faith 
Should purify his livelihood 
And, seeing clearly, give no thought 
To any search that is not good. 

123. (d) And as livelihood purification is to be undertaken by means of energy, 
so virtue dependent on requisites is to be undertaken by means of understanding. For 
that is accomplished by understanding, because one who possesses understanding 
is able to see the advantages and the dangers in requisites. So one should abandon 
greed for requisites and undertake that virtue by using requisites obtained lawfully 
and properly, after reviewing them with understanding in the way aforesaid. 

124. Herein, reviewing is of two kinds: at the time of receiving requisites and at 
the time of using them. For use (paribhoga) is blameless in one who at the time of 
receiving robes, etc., reviews them either as [mere] elements or as repulsive, 33 and 
puts them aside for later use, and in one who reviews them thus at the time of 
using them. 

125. Here is an explanation to settle the matter. There are four kinds of use: use 
as theft, 34 use as a debt?, use as an inheritance, use as a master. Herein, use by one 
who is unvirtuous and makes use [of requisites], even sitting in the midst of the 
Community, is called "use as theft." Use without reviewing by one who is virtuous 
is "use as a debt"; therefore the robe should be reviewed every time it is used, and 
the alms food lump by lump. One who cannot do this [should review it] before the 
meal, after the meal, in the first watch, in the middle watch, and in the last watch. 
If dawn breaks on him without his having reviewed it, he finds himself in the 
position of one who has used it as a debt. Also the resting place should be reviewed 
each time it is used. Recourse to mindfulness both in the accepting and the use of 
medicine is proper; but while this is so, though there is an offence for one who uses 
it without mindfulness after mindful acceptance, there is no offence for one who is 
mindful in using after accepting without mindfulness. 

126. Purification is of four kinds: purification by the Teaching, purification by 
restraint, purification by search, and purification by reviewing. Herein, virtue of 

took him to his home. Meanwhile the elder admonished himself as follows: 'Nor your 
mother nor your father,' etc. (see §133). And beginning the comprehension [of 
formations], and augmenting insight, he realized Arahantship after the other paths in 
due succession while he was still mounted on his back" (Vism-mht 60). 

33. '"As elements' in this way: 'This robe, etc., consists merely of [the four] elements 
and occurs when its conditions are present; and the person who uses it [likewise].' 'As 
repulsive' in this way: Firstly perception of repulsiveness in nutriment in the case of 
alms food; then as bringing repulsiveness to mind thus: 'But all these robes, etc., which 
are not in themselves disgusting, become utterly disgusting on reaching this filthy 
body'" (Vism-mht 61). 

34. '"Use as theft': use by one who is unworthy. And the requisites are allowed by the 
Blessed One to one in his own dispensation who is virtuous, not unvirtuous; and the 
generosity of the givers is towards one who is virtuous, not towards one who is not, 
since they expect great fruit from their actions" (Vism-mht 61; cf. MN 142 and 
commentary). 

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the Patimokkha restraint is called "purification by the Teaching"; [44] for that is so 
called because it purifies by means of teaching. Virtue of restraint of faculties is called 
"purification by restraint"; for that is so called because it purifies by means of the 
restraint in the mental resolution, "I shall not do so again." Virtue of livelihood 
purification is called "purification by search"; for that is so called because search is 
purified in one who abandons wrong search and gets requisites lawfully and 
properly. Virtue dependent on requisites is called "purification by reviewing"; for 
that is so called because it purifies by the reviewing of the kind already described. 
Hence it was said above (§125): "There is no offence for one who is mindful in 
using after accepting without mindfulness." 

127. Use of the requisites by the seven kinds of trainers is called "use as an 
inheritance"; for they are the Buddha's sons, therefore they make use of the 
requisites as the heirs of requisites belonging to their father. But how then, is it the 
Blessed One's requisites or the laity's requisites that are used? Although given by 
the laity, they actually belong to the Blessed One, because it is by the Blessed One 
that they are permitted. That is why it should be understood that the Blessed One's 
requisites are used. The confirmation here is in the Dhammadayada Sutta (MN 3). 

Use by those whose cankers are destroyed is called "use as a master"; for they 
make use of them as masters because they have escaped the slavery of craving. 

128. As regards these kinds of use, use as a master and use as an inheritance are 
allowable for all. Use as a debt is not allowable, to say nothing of use as theft. But 
this use of what is reviewed by one who is virtuous is use freed from debt because 
it is the opposite of use as a debt or is included in use as an inheritance too. For one 
possessed of virtue is called a trainer too because of possessing this training. 

129. As regards these three kinds of use, since use as a master is best, when a 
bhikkhu undertakes virtue dependent on requisites, he should aspire to that and use 
them after reviewing them in the way described. And this is said: [45] 

"The truly wise disciple 

Who listens to the Dhamma 

As taught by the Sublime One 

Makes use, after reviewing, 

Of alms food, and of dwelling, 

And of a resting place, 

And also of the water 

For washing dirt from robes" (Sn 391). 

"So like a drop of water 

Lying on leaves of lotus, 

A bhikkhu is unsullied 

By any of these matters, 

By alms food, [and by dwelling,] 

And by a resting place, 

And also by the water 

For washing dirt from robes" (Sn 392). 



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Chapter I Description of Virtue 

"Since aid it is and timely 

Procured from another 

The right amount he reckons, 

Mindful without remitting 

In chewing and in eating, 

In tasting food besides: 

He treats it as an ointment 

Applied upon a wound." (Source untraced) 

"So like the child's flesh in the desert 
Like the greasing for the axle, 
He should eat without delusion 
Nutriment to keep alive." (Source untraced) 

130. And in connection with the fulfilling of this virtue dependent on requisites 
there should be told the story of the novice Sarigharakkhita the Nephew; For he 
made use of requisites after reviewing, according as it is said: 

"Seeing me eat a dish of rice 

Quite cold, my preceptor observed: 

'Novice, if you are not restrained, 

Be careful not to burn your tongue.' 

On hearing my Preceptor's words, 

I then and there felt urged to act 

And, sitting in a single session, 

I reached the goal of Arahantship. 

Since I am now waxed full in thought 

Like the full moon of the fifteenth (M III 277), 

And all my cankers are destroyed, 

There is no more becoming now." [46] 

And so should any other man 
Aspiring to end suffering 
Make use of all the requisites 
Wisely after reviewing them. 

So virtue is of four kinds as "virtue of Patimokkha restraint," and so on. 

131. 18. In the first pentad in the fivefold section the meaning should be 
understood in accordance with the virtue of those not fully admitted to the Order, 
and so on. For this is said in the Patisambhida: "(a) What is virtue consisting in 
limited purification? That of the training precepts for those not fully admitted to 
the Order: such is virtue consisting in limited purification, (b) What is virtue 
consisting in unlimited purification? That of the training precepts for those fully 
admitted to the Order: such is virtue consisting in unlimited purification, (c) What 
is virtue consisting in fulfilled purification? That of magnanimous ordinary men 
devoted to profitable things, who are perfecting [the course] that ends in trainership, 
regardless of the physical body and life, having given up [attachment to] life: such is 
virtue of fulfilled purification, (d) What is virtue consisting in purification not adhered 
to? That of the seven kinds of trainer: such is virtue consisting in purification not adhered 
to. (e) What is virtue consisting in tranquillized purification? That of the Perfect One's 

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disciples with cankers destroyed, of the Paccekabuddhas, of the Perfect Ones, 
accomplished and fully enlightened: such is virtue consisting in tranquillized 
purification" (Patis I A2-A3). 

132. (a) Herein, the virtue of those not fully admitted to the Order should be 
understood as virtue consisting in limited purification, because it is limited by the 
number [of training precepts, that is, five or eight or ten]. 

(b) That of those fully admitted to the Order is [describable] thus: 

Nine thousand millions, and a hundred 
And eighty millions then as well, 
And fifty plus a hundred thousand, 
And thirty-six again to swell. 

The total restraint disciplines: 
These rules the Enlightened One explains 
Told under heads for filling out, 
Which the Discipline restraint contains. 35 

So although limited in number, [47] it should yet be understood as virtue 
consisting in unlimited purification, since it is undertaken without reserve and has 
no obvious limit such as gain, fame, relatives, limbs or life. Like the virtue of the 
Elder Maha Tissa the Mango-eater who lived at Ciragumba (see §122 above). 

133. For that venerable one never abandoned the following good man's 
recollection: 

"Wealth for a sound limb's sake should be renounced, 
And one who guards his life gives up his limbs; 
And wealth and limbs and life, each one of these, 
A man gives up who practices the Dhamma." 

And he never transgressed a training precept even when his life was in the 
balance, and in this way he reached Arahantship with that same virtue of unlimited 
purification as his support while he was being carried on a lay devotee's back. 
According to as it is said: 

"Nor your mother nor your father 
Nor your relatives and kin 
Have done as much as this for you 
Because you are possessed of virtue." 
So, stirred with urgency, and wisely 
Comprehending 36 with insight, 

35. The figures depend on whether koti is taken as 1,000,000 or 100,000 or 10,000. 

36. "Comprehending" (sammasana) is a technical term that will become clear in 
Chapter XX. In short, it is inference that generalizes the "three characteristics" from 
one's own directly-known experience to all possible formed experience at all times 
(see S II 107). Commenting on "He comprehended that same illness" (§138), Vism-mht 
says: "He exercised insight by discerning the feeling in the illness under the heading 
of the feeling [aggregate] and the remaining material dhammas as materiality" 
(Vism-mht 65). 

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While carried on his helper's back 
He reached the goal of Arahantship. 

134. (c) The magnanimous ordinary man's virtue, which from the time of 
admission to the Order is devoid even of the stain of a [wrong] thought because of 
its extreme purity, like a gem of purest water, like well-refined gold, becomes the 
proximate cause for Arahantship itself, which is why it is called consisting of fulfilled 
purification; like that of the lders Sangharakkhita the Great and Sangharakkhita 
the Nephew. 

135. The Elder Sangharakkhita the Great (Maha Sangharakkhita), aged over sixty, 
was lying, it seems, on his deathbed. The Order of Bhikkhus questioned him about 
attainment of the supramundane state. The elder said: "I have no supramundane 
state." Then the young bhikkhu who was attending on him said: "Venerable sir, 
people have come as much as twelve leagues, thinking that you have reached 
Nibbana. It will be a disappointment for many if you die as an ordinary man." — 
"Friend, thinking to see the Blessed One Metteyya, I did not try for insight. [48] So 
help me to sit up and give me the chance." He helped the elder to sit up and went 
out. As he went out the elder reached Arahantship and he gave a sign by snapping 
his fingers. The Order assembled and said to him: "Venerable sir, you have done a 
difficult thing in achieving the supramundane state in the hour of death." — "That was 
not difficult, friends. But rather I will tell you what is difficult. Friends, I see no action 
done [by me] without mindfulness and unknowingly since the time I went forth." His 
nephew also reached Arahantship in the same way at the age of fifty years. 

136. "Now, if a man has little learning 
And he is careless of his virtue, 
They censure him on both accounts 
For lack of virtue and of learning. 

"But if he is of little learning 
Yet he is careful of his virtue, 
They praise him for his virtue, so 
It is as though he too had learning. 

"And if he is of ample learning 
Yet he is careless of his virtue, 
They blame him for his virtue, so 
It is as though he had no learning. 

"But if he is of ample learning 
And he is careful of his virtue, 
They give him praise on both accounts 
For virtue and as well for learning. 

"The Buddha's pupil of much learning 
Who keeps the Law with understanding — 
A jewel of Jambu River gold 37 
Who is here fit to censure him? 



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Deities praise him [constantly], 

By Brahma also is he praised (A II 7). 

137. (d) What should be understood as virtue consisting in purification not adhered 
to is trainers' virtue, because it is not adhered to by [false] view, and ordinary 
men's virtue when not adhered to by greed. Like the virtue of the Elder Tissa the 
Landowner's Son (Kutumbiyaputta-Tissa-thera). Wanting to become established in 
Arahantship in dependence on such virtue, this venerable one told his enemies: 

I broke the bones of both my legs 

To give the pledge you asked from me. 

I am revolted and ashamed 

At death accompanied by greed. [49] 

"And after I had thought on this, 
And wisely then applied insight, 
When the sun rose and shone on me, 
I had become an Arahant" (M-a I 233). 

138. Also there was a certain senior elder who was very ill and unable to eat with 
his own hand. He was writhing smeared with his own urine and excrement. Seeing 
him, a certain young bhikkhu said, "Oh, what a painful process life is!" The senior 
elder told him: "If I were to die now, friend, I should obtain the bliss of heaven; I 
have no doubt of that. But the bliss obtained by breaking this virtue would be like 
the lay state obtained by disavowing the training," and he added: "I shall die 
together with my virtue." As he lay there, he comprehended that same illness 
[with insight], and he reached Arahantship. Having done so, he pronounced these 
verses to the Order of Bhikkhus: 

"I am victim of a sickening disease 

That racks me with its burden of cruel pain; 

As flowers in the dust burnt by the sun, 

So this my corpse will soon have withered up. 

"Unbeautiful called beautiful, 
Unclean while reckoned as if clean, 
Though full of ordure seeming fair 
To him that cannot see it clear. 

"So out upon this ailing rotting body, 

Fetid and filthy, punished with affliction, 

Doting on which this silly generation 

Has lost the way to be reborn in heaven!" (J-a II 437) 

139. (e) It is the virtue of the Arahants, etc., that should be understood as 
tranquillized purification, because of tranquillization of all disturbance and because 
of purifiedness. 

So it is of five kinds as "consisting in limited purification," and so on. 

140. 19. In the second pentad the meaning should be understood as the 
abandoning, etc., of killing living things, etc.; for this is said in the Patisambhida: 
"Five kinds of virtue: (1) In the case of killing living things, (a) abandoning is 



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Chapter I Description of Virtue 

virtue, (b) abstention is virtue, (c) volition is virtue, (d) restraint is virtue, (e) non- 
transgression is virtue. (2) In the case of taking what is not given ... (3) In the case 
of sexual misconduct ... (4) In the case of false speech ... (5) In the case of malicious 
speech ... (6) In the case of harsh speech ... (7) In the case of gossip . . . [50] (8) In 
the case of covetousness ... (9) In the case of ill will ... (10) In the case of wrong 
view ... 

(11) "Through renunciation in the case of lust, (a) abandoning is virtue ... (12) 
Through non-ill-will in the case of ill-will ... (13) Through perception of light in 
the case of stiffness-and-torpor ... (14) Through non-distraction ... agitation ... 
(15) Through definition of states (dhamma) ... uncertainty ... (16) Through 
knowledge ... ignorance ... (17) Through gladdening in the case of boredom ... 

(18) "Through the first jhana in the case of the hindrances, (a) abandoning is virtue 
. . . (19) Through the second jhana . . . applied and sustained thought . . . (20) Through 
the third jhana . . . happiness . . . (21) Through the fourth jhana in the case of pleasure 
and pain, (a) abandoning is virtue . . . (22) Through the attainment of the base consisting 
of boundless space in the case of perceptions of matter, perceptions of resistance, and 
perceptions of variety, (a) abandoning is virtue . . . (23) Through the attainment of the 
base consisting of boundless consciousness in the case of the perception of the base 
consisting of boundless space . . . (24) Through the attainment of the base consisting of 
nothingness in the case of the perception of the base consisting of boundless 
consciousness ... (25) Through the attainment of the base consisting of neither 
perception nor non-perception in the case of the perception of the base consisting of 
nothingness . . . 

(26) "Through the contemplation of impermanence in the case of the perception 
of permanence, (a) abandoning is virtue ... (27) Through the contemplation of 
pain in the case of the perception of pleasure . . . (28) Through the contemplation of 
not-self in the case of the perception of self . . . (29) Through the contemplation of 
dispassion in the case of the perception of delighting ... (30) Through the 
contemplation of fading away in the case of greed ... (31) Through the 
contemplation of cessation in the case of originating ... (32) Through the 
contemplation of relinquishment in the case of grasping . . . 

(33) "Through the contemplation of destruction in the case of the perception of 
compactness, (a) abandoning is virtue . . . (34) Through the contemplation of fall 
[of formations] in the case of accumulating [kamma] ... (35) Through the 
contemplation of change in the case of the perception of lastingness . . . (36) Through 
the contemplation of the signless in the case of a sign ... (37) Through the 
contemplation of the desireless in the case of desire ... (38) Through the 
contemplation of voidness in the case of misinterpreting (insistence) . . . (39) Through 
insight into states that is higher understanding in the case of misinterpreting 
(insistence) due to grasping . . . (40) Through correct knowledge and vision in the 
case of misinterpreting (insistence) due to confusion ... (41) Through the 
contemplation of danger in the case of misinterpreting (insistence) due to reliance 
[on formations] ... (42) Through reflection in the case of non-reflection ... (43) 
Through the contemplation of turning away in the case of misinterpreting 
(insistence) due to bondage . . . 



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(44) "Through the path of stream-entry in the case of defilements coefficient 
with [false] view, (a) abandoning is virtue ... (45) Through the path of once-return 
in the case of gross defilements . . . (46) Through the path of non-return in the case 
of residual defilements . . . (47) Through the path of Arahantship in the case of all 
defilements, (a) abandoning is virtue, (b) abstention is virtue, (c) volition is virtue, 
(d) restraint is virtue, (e) non-transgression is virtue. 

"Such virtues lead to non-remorse in the mind, to gladdening, to happiness, to 
tranquillity to joy, to repetition, to development, to cultivation, to embellishment, to 
the requisite [for concentration], to the equipment [of concentration], to fulfilment, to 
complete dispassion, to fading away to cessation, to peace, to direct-knowledge, to 
enlightenment, to Nibbana." 38 (Patis 1 46^7) 

141 . And here there is no state called abandoning other than the mere non-arising 
of the killing of living things, etc., as stated. But the abandoning of a given 
[unprofitable state] upholds [51] a given profitable state in the sense of providing a 
foundation for it, and concentrates it by preventing wavering, so it is called "virtue" 
(slla) in the sense of composing (sTlana), reckoned as upholding and concentrating 
as stated earlier (§19). 

The other four things mentioned refer to the presence 39 of occurrence of will as 
abstention from such and such, as restraint of such and such, as the volition 
associated with both of these, and as non-transgression in one who does not 
transgress such and such. But their meaning of virtue has been explained already. 

So it is of five kinds as "virtue consisting in abandoning" and so on. 

142. At this point the answers to the questions, "What is virtue? In what sense is 
it virtue? What are its characteristic, function, manifestation, and proximate cause? 
What are the benefits of virtue? How many kinds of virtue are there?" are complete. 

143. However, it was also asked (vi) What is the detilinc ot it? and What is the 

CLEANSING OF IT? 

We answer that virtue's tornness, etc., is its defiling, and that its untornness, 
etc., is its cleansing. Now, that tornness, etc., are comprised under the breach that 
has gain, fame, etc., as its cause, and under the seven bonds of sexuality. When a 
man has broken the training course at the beginning or at the end in any instance 
of the seven classes of offences, 40 his virtue is called torn, like a cloth that is cut at 
the edge. But when he has broken it in the middle, it is called rent, like a cloth that 

38. This list describes, in terms of abandoning, etc., the stages in the normal progress 
from ignorance to Arahantship, and it falls into the following groups: I. Virtue: the 
abandoning of the ten unprofitable courses of action (1-10). II. Concentration: A. 
abandoning the seven hindrances to concentration by means of their opposites (11- 
17); B. The eight attainments of concentration, and what is abandoned by each (18-25). 
III. Understanding: A. Insight: the eighteen principal insights beginning with the seven 
contemplations (26^43). B. Paths: The four paths and what is abandoned by each (44^47). 

39. Sabbhava — "presence" ( = sat + bhava): not in PED. Not to be confused with sabhava — 
"individual essence" ( = sa (Skr. sva) + bhava, or saha + bhava). 

40. The seven consisting of parajika, sahghadisesa, pacittiya, patidesanlya, dukkata, 
thullaccaya, dubbhasita (mentioned at M-a II 33). 

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is rent in the middle. When he has broken it twice or thrice in succession, it is 
called blotched, like a cow whose body is some such colour as black or red with a 
discrepant colour appearing on the back or the belly. When he has broken it [all 
over] at intervals, it is called mottled, like a cow speckled [all over] with discrepant- 
coloured spots at intervals. This in the first place, is how there comes to be tornness 
with the breach that has gain, etc., as its cause. 

144. And likewise with the seven bonds of sexuality; for this is said by the Blessed 
One: "Here, brahman, some ascetic or brahman claims to lead the life of purity 
rightly; for he does not [52] enter into actual sexual intercourse with women. Yet 
he agrees to massage, manipulation, bathing and rubbing down by women. He 
enjoys it, desires it and takes satisfaction in it. This is what is torn, rent, blotched 
and mottled in one who leads the life of purity. This man is said to lead a life of 
purity that is unclean. As one who is bound by the bond of sexuality, he will not be 
released from birth, ageing and death ... he will not be released from suffering, I 
say. 

145. "Furthermore, brahman, . . . while he does not agree to [these things], yet he 
jokes, plays and amuses himself with women . . . 

146. "Furthermore, brahman, . . . while he does not agree to [these things], yet he 
gazes and stares at women eye to eye . . . 

147. "Furthermore, brahman, . . . while he does not agree to [these things], yet he 
listens to the sound of women through a wall or through a fence as they laugh or 
talk or sing or weep . . . 

148. "Furthermore, brahman, . . . while he does not agree to [these things], yet he 
recalls laughs and talks and games that he formerly had with women . . . 

149. "Furthermore, brahman, ... while he does not agree to [these things], [53] 
yet he sees a householder or a householder's son possessed of, endowed with, and 
indulging in, the five cords of sense desire . . . 

150. "Furthermore, brahman, while he does not agree to [these things], yet he 
leads the life of purity aspiring to some order of deities, [thinking] 'Through this 
rite (virtue) or this ritual (vow) or this asceticism I shall become a [great] deity or 
some [lesser] deity' He enjoys it, desires it, and takes satisfaction in it. This, 
brahman, is what is torn, rent, blotched and mottled in one who leads the life of 
purity. This man ... will not be released from suffering, I say" (A IV 54-56). 

This is how tornness, etc., should be understood as included under the breach 
that has gain, etc., as its cause and under the seven bonds of sexuality. 

151 Untornness, however, is accomplished by the complete non-breaking of 
the training precepts, by making amends for those broken for which amends should 
be made, by the absence of the seven bonds of sexuality, and, as well, by the non- 
arising of such evil things as anger, enmity, contempt, domineering, envy, avarice, 
deceit, fraud, obduracy, presumption, pride (conceit), haughtiness, conceit (vanity), 
and negligence (MN 7), and by the arising of such qualities as fewness of wishes, 
contentment, and effacement (MN 24). 



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152. Virtues not broken for the purpose of gain, etc., and rectified by making 
amends after being broken by the faults of negligence, etc., and not damaged by 
the bonds of sexuality and by such evil things as anger and enmity, are called 
entirely untorn, unrent, unblotched, and unmottled. And those same virtues are 
liberating since they bring about the state of a freeman, and praised by the wise 
since it is by the wise that they are praised, and unadhered-to since they are not 
adhered to by means of craving and views, and conducive to concentration since 
they conduce to access concentration or to absorption concentration. That is why 
their untornness, etc., should be understood as "cleansing" (see also Vll.lOlf.). 

153. This cleansing comes about in two ways: through seeing the danger of failure 
in virtue, and through seeing the benefit of perfected virtue. [54] Herein, the danger 
of failure in virtue can be seen in accordance with such suttas as that beginning, 
"Bhikkhus, there are these five dangers for the unvirtuous in the failure of virtue" 
(A III 252). 

154. Furthermore, on account of his unvirtuousness an unvirtuous person is 
displeasing to deities and human beings, is uninstructable by his fellows in the life 
of purity, suffers when unvirtuousness is censured, and is remorseful when the 
virtuous are praised. Owing to that unvirtuousness he is as ugly as hemp cloth. 
Contact with him is painful because those who fall in with his views are brought 
to long-lasting suffering in the states of loss. He is worthless because he causes no 
great fruit [to accrue] to those who give him gifts. He is as hard to purify as a 
cesspit many years old. He is like a log from a pyre (see It 99); for he is outside 
both [recluseship and the lay state]. Though claiming the bhikkhu state he is no 
bhikkhu, so he is like a donkey following a herd of cattle. He is always nervous, 
like a man who is everyone's enemy. He is as unfit to live with as a dead carcase. 
Though he may have the qualities of learning, etc., he is as unfit for the homage of 
his fellows in the life of purity as a charnel-ground fire is for that of brahmans. He 
is as incapable of reaching the distinction of attainment as a blind man is of seeing 
a visible object. He is as careless of the Good Law as a guttersnipe is of a kingdom. 
Though he fancies he is happy, yet he suffers because he reaps suffering as told in 
the Discourse on the Mass of Fire (A IV 128-34). 

155. Now, the Blessed One has shown that when the unvirtuous have their minds 
captured by pleasure and satisfaction in the indulgence of the five cords of sense 
desires, in [receiving] salutation, in being honoured, etc., the result of that kamma, 
directly visible in all ways, is very violent pain, with that [kamma] as its condition, 
capable of producing a gush of hot blood by causing agony of heart with the mere 
recollection of it. Here is the text: 

"Bhikkhus, do you see that great mass of fire burning, blazing and glowing? — 
Yes, venerable sir. — What do you think, bhikkhus, which is better, that one [gone 
forth] should sit down or lie down embracing that mass of fire burning, blazing 
and glowing, or that he should sit down or lie down embracing a warrior-noble 
maiden or a brahman maiden or a maiden of householder family, with soft, delicate 
hands and feet? — It would be better, venerable sir, that he should sit down or lie 
down embracing a warrior-noble maiden . . . [55] It would be painful, venerable sir, 



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Chapter I Description of Virtue 

if he sat down or lay down embracing that great mass of fire burning, blazing and 
glowing. 

156. "I say to you, bhikkhus, I declare to you, bhikkhus, that it would be better 
for one [gone forth] who is unvirtuous, who is evil-natured, of unclean and suspect 
habits, secretive of his acts, who is not an ascetic and claims to be one, who does 
not lead the life of purity and claims to do so, who is rotten within, lecherous, and 
full of corruption, to sit down or lie down embracing that great mass of fire burning, 
blazing and glowing. Why is that? By his doing so, bhikkhus, he might come to 
death or deadly suffering, yet he would not on that account, on the breakup of the 
body, after death, reappear in states of loss, in an unhappy destiny, in perdition, in 
hell. But if one who is unvirtuous, evil-natured . . . and full of corruption, should 
sit down or lie down embracing a warrior-noble maiden . . . that would be long for 
his harm and suffering: on the break-up of the body, after death, he would reappear 
in states of loss, in an unhappy destiny, in perdition, in hell" (A IV 128-29). 

157. Having thus shown by means of the analogy of the mass of fire the suffering 
that is bound up with women and has as its condition the indulgence of the five 
cords of sense desires [by the unvirtuous], to the same intent he showed, by the 
following similes of the horse-hair rope, the sharp spear, the iron sheet, the iron 
ball, the iron bed, the iron chair, and the iron cauldron, the pain that has as its 
condition [acceptance of] homage and reverential salutation, and the use of robes, 
alms food, bed and chair, and dwelling [by unvirtuous bhikkhus]: 

"What do you think, bhikkhus, which is better, that one should have a strong horse- 
hair rope twisted round both legs by a strong man and tightened so that it cut through 
the outer skin, and having cut through the outer skin it cut through the inner skin, and 
having cut through the inner skin it cut through the flesh, and having cut through the 
flesh it cut through the sinews, and having cut through the sinews it cut through the 
bones, and having cut through the bones it remained crushing the bone marrow — or 
that he should consent to the homage of great warrior-nobles, great brahmans, great 
householders?" (A IV 129). [56] 

And: "What do you think, bhikkhus, which is better, that one should have a 
strong man wound one's breast with a sharp spear tempered in oil — or that he 
should consent to the reverential salutation of great warrior-nobles, great brahmans, 
great householders?" (A IV 130). 

And: "What do you think, bhikkhus, which is better, that one's body should be 
wrapped by a strong man in a red-hot iron sheet burning, blazing and glowing — 
or that he should use robes given out of faith by great warrior-nobles, great 
brahmans, great householders?" (A IV 130-31). 

And: "What do you think, bhikkhus, which is better, that one's mouth should 
be prised open by a strong man with red-hot iron tongs burning, blazing and 
glowing, and that into his mouth should be put a red-hot iron ball burning, blazing 
and glowing, which burns his lips and burns his mouth and tongue and throat and 
belly and passes out below carrying with it his bowels and entrails — or that he should 
use alms food given out of faith by great warrior-nobles ...?" (A IV 131-32). 



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And: "What do you think, bhikkhus, which is better, that one should have a strong 
man seize him by the head or seize him by the shoulders and seat him or lay him on a 
red-hot iron bed or iron chair, burning, blazing and glowing — or that he should use a 
bed or chair given out of faith by great warrior-nobles ... ?" (A IV 132-33). 

And: "What do you think, bhikkhus, which is better, that one should have a 
strong man take him feet up and head down and plunge him into a red-hot metal 
cauldron burning, blazing and glowing, to be boiled there in a swirl of froth, and as 
he boils in the swirl of froth to be swept now up, now down, and now across — or that 
he should use a dwelling given out of faith by great warrior-nobles ...?" (A IV 133-34). 

158. What pleasure has a man of broken virtue 

Forsaking not sense pleasures, which bear fruit 
Of pain more violent even than the pain 
In the embracing of a mass of fire? 

What pleasure has he in accepting homage 

Who, having failed in virtue, must partake 

Of pain that will excel in agony 

The crushing of his legs with horse-hair ropes? [57] 

What pleasure has a man devoid of virtue 
Accepting salutations of the faithful, 
Which is the cause of pain acuter still 
Than pain produced by stabbing with a spear? 

What is the pleasure in the use of garments 
For one without restraint, whereby in hell 
He will for long be forced to undergo 
The contact of the blazing iron sheet? 

Although to him his alms food may seem tasty, 
Who has no virtue, it is direst poison, 
Because of which he surely will be made 
For long to swallow burning iron balls. 

And when the virtueless make use of couches 
And chairs, though reckoned pleasing, it is pain 
Because they will be tortured long indeed 
On red-hot blazing iron beds and chairs. 

Then what delight is there for one unvirtuous 
Inhabiting a dwelling given in faith, 
Since for that reason he will have to dwell 
Shut up inside a blazing iron pan? 

The Teacher of the world, in him condemning, 
Described him in these terms: "Of suspect habits, 
Full of corruption, lecherous as well, 
By nature evil, rotten too within." 

So out upon the life of him abiding 
Without restraint, of him that wears the guise 



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Chapter I Description of Virtue 

Of the ascetic that he will not be, 

And damages and undermines himself! 

What is the life he leads, since any person, 
No matter who, with virtue to his credit 
Avoids it here, as those that would look well 
Keep far away from dung or from a corpse? 

He is not free from any sort of terror, 
Though free enough from pleasure of attainment; 
While heaven's door is bolted fast against him, 
He is well set upon the road to hell. 

Who else if not one destitute of virtue 
More fit to be the object of compassion? 
Many indeed and grave are the defects 
That brand a man neglectful of his virtue. 

Seeing danger in the failure of virtue should be understood as reviewing in 
such ways as these. And seeing benefits in perfected vir-tue should be understood 
in the opposite sense. 

159. Furthermore: [58] 

His virtue is immaculate, 
His wearing of the bowl and robes 
Gives pleasure and inspires trust, 
His going forth will bear its fruit. 

A bhikkhu in his virtue pure 
Has never fear that self-reproach 
Will enter in his heart: indeed 
There is no darkness in the sun. 
A bhikkhu in his virtue bright 
Shines forth in the Ascetics' Wood 41 
As by the brightness of his beams 
The moon lights up the firmament. 

Now, if the bodily perfume 

Of virtuous bhikkhus can succeed 

In pleasing even deities, 

What of the perfume of his virtue? 

It is more perfect far than all 
The other perfumes in the world, 
Because the perfume virtue gives 
Is borne unchecked in all directions. 

The deeds done for a virtuous man, 
Though they be few, will bear much fruit, 



41 . An allusion to the Gosiriga Suttas (MN 31, 32). 



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And so the virtuous man becomes 
A vessel of honour and renown. 

There are no cankers here and now 
To plague the virtuous man at all; 
The virtuous man digs out the root 
Of suffering in lives to come. 

Perfection among human kind 
And even among deities. 
If wished for, is not hard to gain 
For him whose virtue is perfected; 

But once his virtue is perfected, 
His mind then seeks no other kind 
han the perfection of Nibbana, 
The state where utter peace prevails. 
Such is the blessed fruit of virtue, 
Showing full many a varied form, 
So let a wise man know it well 
This root of all perfection's branches. 

160. The mind of one who understands thus, shudders at failure in virtue and 
reaches out towards the perfecting of virtue. So virtue should be cleansed with all 
care, seeing this danger of failure in virtue and this benefit of the perfection of 
virtue in the way stated. 

161 . And at this point in the Path of Purification, which is shown under the headings 
of virtue, concentration and understanding by the stanza, "When a wise man, 
established well in virtue" (§1), virtue, firstly, has been fully illustrated. 

The first chapter called "The Description of Virtue" in the 
Path of Purification composed for the purpose of gladdening 
good people. 



:>[ 



Chapter II 

The Ascetic Practices 
(Dhutanga-niddesa) 

1. [59] Now, while a meditator is engaged in the pursuit of virtue, he should set 
about undertaking the ascetic practices in order to perfect those special qualities 
of fewness of wishes, contentment, etc., by which the virtue of the kind already 
described, is cleansed. For when his virtue is thus washed clean of stains by the 
waters of such special qualities as fewness of wishes, contentment, effacement, 
seclusion, dispersal, energy, and modest needs, it will become quite purified; and 
his vows will succeed as well. And- so, when his whole behaviour has been purified 
by the special quality of blameless virtue and vows and he has become established 
in the [first] three of the ancient Noble Ones' heritages, he may become worthy to 
attain to the fourth called "delight in development" (A II 27). We shall therefore 
begin the explanation of the ascetic practices. 

[The 13 kinds of Ascetic Practices] 

2. Thirteen kinds of ascetic practices have been allowed by the Blessed One to 
clansmen who have given up the things of the flesh and, regardless of body and 
life, are desirous of undertaking a practice in conformity [with their aim]. They 
are: 

i. the refuse-rag-wearer's practice, 

ii. the triple-robe-wearer's practice, 

iii. the alms-food-eater's practice, 

iv the house-to-house-seeker's practice, 

v. the one-sessioner's practice, 

vi. the bowl-food-eater's practice, 

vii. the later-food-refuser's practice, 

viii. the forest-dweller's practice, 

ix. the tree-root-dweller's practice, 

x. the open-air-dweller's practice, 

xi. the charnel-ground-dweller's practice, 

xii. the any-bed-user's practice, 

xiii. the sitter's practice. 



3. Herein: 



(1) As to meaning, (2) characteristic, et cetera, 
(3) The undertaking and directions, 



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And then the grade, and breach as well, 
And benefits of each besides, 

(4) As to the profitable triad, 

(5) "Ascetic" and so on distinguished, 

(6) And as to groups, and also (7) singly, 
The exposition should be known. [60] 

4. 1. Herein, as to meaning, in the first place. 

i. It is "refuse" (pamsukula) since, owing to its being found on refuse in any 
such place as a street, a charnel ground, or a midden, it belongs, as it were, to the 
refuse in the sense of being dumped in anyone of these places. Or alternatively: 
like refuse it gets to a vile state (PAMSU viya KUcchitabhavam ULAti), thus it is 
"refuse" (pamsukula); it goes to a vile state, is what is meant. The wearing of a 
refuse-[rag], which has acquired its derivative name 1 in this way, is "refuse-[rag- 
wearing]" (pamsukula). That is his habit, thus he is a "refuse-[rag-wear-]er" 
(pamsukulika). The practice (anga) of the refuse-[rag-wear-]er is the "refuse-[rag- 
wear-]er's practice" (pamsukulikahga). It is the action that is called the "practice." 
Therefore it should be understood as a term for that by undertaking which one 
becomes a refuse-[rag-wear-]er. 

ii. In the same way, he has the habit of [wearing] the triple robe (ti-clvara) — in 
other words, the cloak of patches, the upper garment, and the inner clothing — 
thus he is a "triple-robe-[wear-]er" (teclvarika). His practice is called the "triple- 
robe-wearer's practice." 

5. iii. The dropping (pata) of the lumps (pinda) of material sustenance (amisa) 
called alms (bhikkha) is "alms food" (pindapata); the falling (nipatana) into the bowl 
of lumps (pinda) given by others, is what is meant. He gleans that alms food (that 
falling of lumps), he seeks it by approaching such and such a family, thus he is 
called an "alms-food [eat-]er" (pindapatika). Or his vow is to gather (patitum) 2 the 
lump (pinda), thus he is a "lump-gatherer" (pindapatin). To "gather" is to wander 
for. A "lump-gatherer" (pindapatin) is the same as an "alms-food-eater" (pindapatika). 
The practice of the alms-food-eater is the "alms-food-eater's practice." 

6. iv It is a hiatus (avakhandana) that is called a "gap" (dana). 3 It is removed (apeta) 
from a gap, thus it is called "gapless" (apadana); the meaning is, it is without hiatus. 
It is together with (saha) what is gapless (apadana), thus it is "with the gapless" 
(sapadana); devoid of hiatus — from house to house — is what is meant. His habit is 
to wander on what-is-with-the-gapless, thus he is a "gapless wanderer" (sapadana- 
carin). A gapless wanderer is the same as a "house-to-house-seeker" (sapadana- 
carika). His practice is the "house-to-house-seeker's practice." 

7. v. Eating in one session is "one-session." He has that habit, thus he is a "one- 
sessioner." His practice is the "one-sessioner's practice." 

1. Nibbacana — "derivative name (or verbal derivative)"; gram, term not in PED; M-a I 
61,105; VismXVI.16. 

2. Patati — "to gather (or to wander)": not in PED. 

3. Avakhandana — "hiatus" and dana — "gap": not in PED. 



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vi. Alms (pinda) in one bowl (patta) only because of refusing a second vessel, is 
"bowl-alms" (patta-pinda). Now, making "bowl alms" (patta-pinda) the name for 
the taking of alms food in the bowl: bowl-alms-food is his habit, thus he is a "bowl- 
food-eater" (pattapindika). His practice is the "bowl-food-eater's practice." 

8. vii. "No" (khalu) is a particle in the sense of refusing. [61] Food (bhatta) obtained 
later by one who has shown that he is satisfied is called "later-food" (paccha-bhatta). 
The eating of that later food is "later-food-eating." Making "later-food" (paccha- 
bhatta) the name for that later-food-eating: later-food is his habit, thus he is a "later- 
food-[eat-]er" (pacchabhattika). Not a later-food-eater is a "no-later-food- [eat-] er" 
(khalu-pacchabhattika) , [that is, a "later-food-refuser"]. This is the name for one who 
as an undertaking refuses extra food. But it is said in the commentary 4 "Khalu is a 
certain kind of bird. When it has taken a fruit into its beak and that drops, it does 
not eat any more. This [bhikkhu] is like that." Thus he is "a later-food-refuser" 
(khalu-paccha-bhattika). His practice is the "later-food-refuser's practice." 

9. viii. His habit is dwelling in the forest, thus he is a "forest-dweller." His practice 
is the "forest-dweller's practice." 

ix. Dwelling at the root of a tree is "tree-root-dwelling." He has that habit, thus 
he is a "tree-root-dweller." The practice of the tree-root-dweller is the "tree-root- 
dweller's practice." 

x., xi. Likewise with the open-air-dweller and the charnel-ground-dweller. 

10. xii. Only what has been distributed (yad eva santhata) is "as distributed" 
(yathasanthata) . This is a term for the resting place first allotted thus "This one falls 
to you." He has the habit of dwelling in that as distributed, thus he is an "as- 
distributed-user" (yathasanthatika), [that is, an "any-bed-user"]. His practice is the 
"any-bed-user's practice." 

xiii. He has the habit of keeping to the sitting [posture when resting], refusing 
to lie down, thus he is a "sitter." His practice is the "sitter's practice." 

1 1 . All these, however, are the practices (ahga) of a bhikkhu who is ascetic (dhuta) 
because he has shaken off (dhuta) defilement by undertaking one or other of them. 
Or the knowledge that has got the name "ascetic" (dhuta) because it shakes off 
(dhunana) defilement is a practice (ahga) belonging to these, thus they are "ascetic 
practices" (dhutahga). Or alternatively, they are ascetic (dhuta) because they shake 
off (niddhunana) opposition, and they are practices (ahga) because they are a way 
(patipatti). 

This, firstly, is how the exposition should be known here as to meaning. 

12. 2. All of them have as their characteristic the volition of undertaking. For this 
is said [in the commentary]: "He who does the undertaking is a person. That 
whereby he does the undertaking is states of consciousness and consciousness- 
concomitants. The volition of the act of undertaking is the ascetic practice. What it 
rejects is the instance." All have the function of eliminating cupidity, and they 

4. Such references to "the Commentary" are to the old Sinhalese commentary, no 
longer extant, from which Bhadantacariya Buddhaghosa drew his material. 

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manifest themselves with the production of non-cupidity. For their proximate cause 
they have the noble states consisting of fewness of wishes, and so on. [62] This is 
how the exposition should be known as to characteristic, etc., here. 

13. 3. As regards the five beginning with the undertaking and directions: during 
the Blessed One's lifetime all ascetic practices should be undertaken in the Blessed 
One's presence. After his attainment of Nibbana this should be done in the presence 
of a principal disciple. When he is not available it should be done in the presence 
of one whose cankers are destroyed, of a non-returner, of a once-returner, of a 
stream-enterer, of one who knows the three Pitakas, of one who knows two of the 
Pitakas, of one who knows one of the Pitakas, of one who knows one Collection, 5 
of a teacher of the Commentaries. When he is not available it should be done in the 
presence of an observer of an ascetic practice. When he is not available, then after 
one has swept out the shrine terrace they can be undertaken seated in a reverential 
posture as though pronouncing them in the Fully Enlightened One's presence. 
Also it is permitted to undertake them by oneself. 

And here should be told the story of the senior of the two brothers who were 
elders at Cetiyapabbata and their fewness of wishes with respect to the ascetic 
practices 6 (M-a II 140). 

This, firstly, is what applies to all [the practices]. 

14. Now, we shall proceed to comment on the undertaking, directions, grade, 
breach and benefits, of each one [separately]. 

i. First, the refuse-rag-wearer' s practice is undertaken with one of these two 
statements: "I refuse robes given by householders" or "I undertake the refuse-rag- 
wearer's practice." This, firstly, is the undertaking. 

15. One who has done this should get a robe of one of the following kinds: one 
from a charnel ground, one from a shop, a cloth from a street, a cloth from a midden, 
one from a childbed, an ablution cloth, a cloth from a washing place, one worn 
going to and returning from [the charnel ground], one scorched by fire, one gnawed 
by cattle, one gnawed by ants, one gnawed by rats, one cut at the end, one cut at the 
edge, one carried as a flag, a robe from a shrine, an ascetic's robe, one from a 
consecration, one produced by supernormal power, one from a highway, one borne 
by the wind, one presented by deities, one from the sea. Taking one of these robe 
cloths, he should tear off and throw away the weak parts, and then wash the sound 
parts and make up a robe. He can use it after getting rid of his old robe given by 
householders. 

16. Herein, "one from a charnel ground" is one dropped on a charnel ground. 

5. "'Ekasahgltika': one who knows one of the five collections (nikaya) beginning with 
the Collection of Long Discourses (Dlgha Nikaya). (Vism-mht 76)" 

6. "That elder, it seems, was a sitter, but no one knew it. Then one night the other saw 
him by the light of a flash of lightning sitting up on his bed. He asked, 'Are you a sitter, 
venerable sir?' Out of fewness of wishes that his ascetic practice should get known, the 
elder lay down. Afterwards he undertook the practice anew. So the story has come 
down. (Vism-mht 77)" 

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"One from a shop" is one dropped at the door of a shop. 

"A cloth from a street" is a cloth thrown into a street from inside a window by 
those who seek merit. 

"A cloth from a midden" [63] is a cloth thrown onto a place for rubbish. 

"One from a childbed" is a cloth thrown away after wiping up the stains of 
childbirth with it. The mother of Tissa the Minister, it seems, had the stains of 
childbirth wiped up with a cloth worth a hundred [pieces], and thinking, "The 
refuse-rag wearers will take it," she had it thrown onto the Talaveli Road. 7 Bhikkhus 
took it for the purpose of mending worn places. 

17. "An ablution cloth" is one that people who are made by devil doctors to bathe 
themselves, including their heads, are accustomed to throw away as a "cloth of ill 
luck." 

"A cloth from washing place" is rags thrown away at a washing place where bathing 
is done. 

"One worn going to and coming from" is one that people throw away after they 
have gone to a charnel ground and returned and bathed. 

"One scorched by fire" is one partly scorched by fire; for people throw that away. 

"One gnawed by cattle," etc., are obvious; for people throw away such as these 
too. 

"One carried as a flag": Those who board a ship do so after hoisting a flag. It is 
allowable to take this when they have gone out of sight. Also it is allowable, when 
the two armies have gone away, to take a flag that has been hoisted on a battlefield. 

18. "A robe from a shrine" is an offering made by draping a termite-mound [in 
cloth]. 

"An ascetic's robe" is one belonging to a bhikkhu. 

"One from a consecration" is one thrown away at the king's consecration place. 

"One produced by supernormal power" is a "come-bhikkhu" robe. 8 "One from a 
highway" is one dropped in the middle of a road. But one dropped by the owner's 
negligence should be taken only after waiting a while. 

"One borne by the wind" is one that falls a long way off, having been carried by 
the wind. It is allowable to take it if the owners are not in sight. 

"One presented by deities" is one given by deities like that given to the Elder 
Anuruddha (Dhp-a II 173-74). 

"One from the sea" is one washed up on dry land by the sea waves. 

19. One given thus "We give it to the Order" or got by those who go out for alms- 
cloth is not a refuse-rag. And in the case of one presented by a bhikkhu, one given 

7. "The name of a street in Mahagama (S.E. Sri Lanka). Also in Anuradhapura, they 
say" (Vism-mht 77). 

8. On certain occasions, when the going forth was given by the Buddha with only the 
words, "Ehi bhikkhu (Come, bhikkhu)," owing to the disciple's past merit robes appeared 
miraculously upon him (see e.g. Vin Mahavagga, Kh. 1). 

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after it has been got [at a presentation of robes by householders] at the end of the 
Rains, or a "resting-place robe" [that is, one automatically supplied by a householder 
to the occupant of a certain resting place] is not a refuse-rag. It is a refuse-rag only 
when given after not having been so obtained. And herein, that placed by the donors 
at a bhikkhu's feet but given by that bhikkhu to the refuse-rag wearer by placing it 
in his hand is called pure in one way. That given to a bhikkhu by placing it in his 
hand but placed by him at the [refuse-rag wearer's] feet is also pure in one way. 
That which is both placed at a bhikkhu's feet and then given by him in the same 
way is pure in both ways. [64] One obtained by being placed in the hand and 
[given by being] placed in the hand too is not a strict man's robe. So a refuse-rag 
wearer should use the robe after getting to know about the kinds of refuse-rags. 
These are the directions for it in this instance. 

20. The grades are these. There are three kinds of refuse-rag wearers: the strict, the 
medium, and the mild. Herein, one who takes it only from a charnel ground is strict. 
One who takes one left [by someone, thinking] "One gone forth will take it" is medium. 
One who takes one given by being placed at his feet [by a bhikkhu] is mild. 

The moment anyone of these of his own choice or inclination agrees to [accept] 
a robe given by a householder, his ascetic practice is broken. This is the breach in 
this instance. 

21 . The benefits are these. He actually practices in conformity with the dependence, 
because of the words "The going forth by depending on the refuse-rag robe" (Vin 
1 58, 96); he is established in the first of the Noble Ones' heritages (A II 27); there is 
no suffering due to protecting; he exists independent of others; there is no fear of 
robbers; there is no craving connected with use [of robes]; it is a requisite suitable 
for an ascetic; it is a requisite recommended by the Blessed One thus "valueless, 
easy to get, and blameless" (A II 26); it inspires confidence; it produces the fruits 
of fewness of wishes, etc.; the right way is cultivated; a good example is set 9 to later 
generations. 

22. While striving for Death's army's rout 
The ascetic clad in rag-robe clout 
Got from a rubbish heap, shines bright 
As mail-clad warrior in the fight. 

This robe the world's great teacher wore, 
Leaving rare Kasi cloth and more; 
Of rags from off a rubbish heap 
Who would not have a robe to keep? 

Minding the words he did profess 
When he went into homelessness, 
Let him to wear such rags delight 
As one in seemly garb bedight. 

This, firstly, is the commentary on the undertaking, directions, grades, breach, 
and benefits, in the case of the refuse-rag-wearer's practice. 

9. Apadana — "institution (or production)," not in PED. 

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23. ii. Next there is the triple-robe-wearer's practice. This is undertaken with one 
of the following statements: "I refuse a fourth robe" or "I undertake the triple- 
robe-wearer's practice." [65] 

When a triple-robe wearer has got cloth for a robe, he can put it by for as long 
as, owing to ill-health, he is unable to make it up, or for as long as he does not find 
a helper, or lacks a needle, etc., and there is no fault in his putting it by. But it is not 
allowed to put it by once it has been dyed. That is called cheating the ascetic practice. 
These are the directions for it. 

24. This too has three grades. Herein, one who is strict should, at the time of dyeing, 
first dye either the inner cloth or the upper garment, and having dyed it, he should 
wear that round the waist and dye the other. Then he can put that on over the 
shoulder and dye the cloak of patches. But he is not allowed to wear the cloak of 
patches round the waist. This is the duty when in an abode inside a village. But it 
is allowable for him in the forest to wash and dye two together. However, he should 
sit in a place near [to the robes] so that, if he sees anyone, he can pull a yellow cloth 
over himself. But for the medium one there is a yellow cloth in the dyeing room for 
use while dyeing, and it is allowable for him to wear that [as an inner cloth] or to 
put it on [as an upper garment] in order to do the work of dyeing. For the mild one 
it is allowable to wear, or put on, the robes of bhikkhus who are in communion (i.e. 
not suspended, etc.) in order to do the work of dyeing. A bedspread that remains 
where it is 10 is also allowable for him, but he must not take it about him. And it is 
allowed for him to use from time to time the robes of bhikkhus who are in 
communion. It is allowed to one who wears the triple robe as an ascetic practice to 
have a yellow shoulder-cloth too as a fourth; but it must be only a span wide and 
three hands long. 

The moment anyone of these three agrees to [accept] a fourth robe, his ascetic 
practice is broken. This is the breach in this instance. 

25. The benefits are these. The bhikkhu who is a triple-robe wearer is content 
with the robe as a protection for the body. Hence he goes taking it with him as a 
bird does its wings (M 1 180); and such special qualities as having few undertakings, 
avoidance of storage of cloth, a frugal existence, the abandoning of greed for many 
robes, living in effacement by observing moderation even in what is permitted, 
production of the fruits of fewness of wishes, etc., are perfected. [66] 

26. No risk of hoarding haunts the man of wit 
Who wants no extra cloth for requisite; 
Using the triple robe where'er he goes 
The pleasant relish of content he knows. 



10. Tatratthaka-paccattharana — "a bedspread that remains there"; "A name for what 
has been determined upon as a bedspread in one's own resting place or in someone 
else's. They say accordingly (it is said in a commentary) that there is no breach of the 
ascetic practice even when these two, that is, the bedspread and the undyed cloth, are 
kept as extra robes" (Vism-mht 78-79). For tatratthaka (fixture) see also §61. 



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So, would the adept wander undeterred 
With naught else but his robes, as flies the bird 
With its own wings, then let him too rejoice 
That frugalness in garments be his choice. 

This is the commentary on the undertaking, directions, grades, breach, and 
benefits, in the case of the triple-robe-wearer's practice. 

27. iii. The alms-food-eater's practice is undertaken with one of the following 
statements: "I refuse a supplementary [food] supply" or "I undertake the alms- 
food-eater's practice." 

Now, this alms-food eater should not accept the following fourteen kinds of 
meal: a meal offered to the Order, a meal offered to specified bhikkhus, an invitation, 
a meal given by a ticket, one each half-moon day, one each Uposatha day, one each 
first of the half-moon, a meal given for visitors, a meal for travellers, a meal for the 
sick, a meal for sick-nurses, a meal supplied to a [particular] residence, a meal 
given in a principal house, 11 a meal given in turn. 

If, instead of saying "Take a meal given to the Order", [meals] are given saying 
"The Order is taking alms in our house; you may take alms too", it is allowable to 
consent. Tickets from the Order that are not for actual food, 12 and also a meal 
cooked in a monastery, are allowable as well. 

These are the directions for it. 

28. This too has three grades. Herein, one who is strict takes alms brought both 
from before and from behind, and he gives the bowl to those who take it while he 
stands outside a door. He also takes alms brought to the refectory and given there. 
But he does not take alms by sitting [and waiting for it to be brought later] that day. 
The medium one takes it as well by sitting [and waiting for it to be brought later] 
that day; but he does not consent to [its being brought] the next day. The mild one 
consents to alms [being brought] on the next day and on the day after. Both these 
last miss the joy of an independent life. There is, perhaps, a preaching on the Noble 
Ones' heritages (A II 28) in some village. The strict one says to the others "Let us 
go, friends, and listen to the Dhamma." One of them says, "I have been made to sit 
[and wait] by a man, venerable sir," and the other, "I have consented to [receive] 
alms tomorrow, venerable sir." So they are both losers. The other wanders for alms 
in the morning and then he goes and savours the taste of the Dhamma. [67] 

The moment anyone of these three agrees to the extra gain consisting of a meal 
given to the Order, etc., his ascetic practice is broken. This is the breach in this 
instance. 

29. The benefits are these. He actually practices in conformity with the dependence 
because of the words "The going forth by depending on the eating of lumps of 

11. "A meal to be given by setting it out in a principal house only." (Vism-mht 79) 
This meaning of dhura-bhatta not in PED. 

12. "Tickets that are not for actual food, but deal with medicine, etc." (Vism-mht 79) 
Patikkamana — "refectory" (28) = bojun hal (eating hall) in Sinhalese translation. 



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alms food" (Vin II 58, 96); he is established in the second of the Noble Ones' 
heritages; his existence is independent of others; it is a requisite recommended by 
the Blessed One thus "Valueless, easy to get, blameless" (A II 26); idleness is 
eliminated; livelihood is purified; the practice of the minor training rule [of the 
Patimokkha] is fulfilled; he is not maintained by another; he helps others; pride is 
abandoned; craving for tastes is checked; the training precepts about eating as a 
group, substituting one meal [invitation for another] (see Vinaya, Pacittiya 33 and 
Corny), and good behaviour, are not contravened; his life conforms to [the principles 
of] fewness of wishes; he cultivates the right way; he has compassion for later 
generations. 

30. The monk content with alms for food 
Has independent livelihood, 

And greed in him no footing finds; 
He is as free as the four winds. 
He never need be indolent, 
His livelihood is innocent, 
So let a wise man not disdain 
Alms-gathering for his domain. 

Since it is said: 

"If a bhikkhu can support himself on alms 
And live without another's maintenance, 
And pay no heed as well to gain and fame, 
The very gods indeed might envy him" (Ud 31). 

This is the commentary on the undertaking, directions, grades, breach and 
benefits, in the case of the alms-food-eater's practice. 

31. iv The house-to-house seeker's practice is undertaken with one of the following 
statements "I refuse a greedy alms round" or "I undertake the house-to-house 
seeker's practice." 

Now, the house-to-house seeker should stop at the village gate and make sure 
that there is no danger. If there is danger in any street or village, it is allowable to 
leave it out and wander for alms elsewhere. When there is a house door or a street 
or a village where he [regularly] gets nothing at all, he can go [past it] not counting 
it as a village. But wherever he gets anything at all it is not allowed [subsequently] 
to go [past] there and leave it out. This bhikkhu should enter the village early so 
that he will be able to leave out any inconvenient place and go elsewhere. [68] But 
if people who are giving a gift [of a meal] in a monastery or who are coming along 
the road take his bowl and give alms food, it is allowable. And as this [bhikkhu] is 
going along the road, he should, when it is the time, wander for alms in any village 
he comes to and not pass it by. If he gets nothing there or only a little, he should 
wander for alms in the next village in order. These are the directions for it. 

32. This too has three grades. Herein, one who is strict does not take alms brought 
from before or brought from behind or brought to the refectory and given there. 
He hands over his bowl at a door, however; for in this ascetic practice there is none 
equal to the Elder Maha Kassapa, yet an instance in which even he handed over his 

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bowl is mentioned (see Ud 29). The medium one takes what is brought from before 
and from behind and what is brought to the refectory, and he hands over his bowl 
at a door. But he does not sit waiting for alms. Thus he conforms to the rule of the 
strict alms-food eater. The mild one sits waiting [for alms to be brought] that day. 

The ascetic practice of these three is broken as soon as the greedy alms round 
starts [by going only to the houses where good alms food is given]. This is the 
breach in this instance. 

33. The benefits are these. He is always a stranger among families and is like the 
moon (S II 197); he abandons avarice about families; he is compassionate impartially; 
he avoids the dangers in being supported by a family; he does not delight in 
invitations; he does not hope for [meals] to be brought; his life conforms to [the 
principles of] fewness of wishes, and so on. 

34. The monk who at each house his begging plies 
Is moonlike, ever new to families, 

Nor does he grudge to help all equally, 
Free from the risks of house-dependency 
Who would the self-indulgent round forsake 
And roam the world at will, the while to make 
His downcast eyes range a yoke-length before, 
Then let him wisely seek from door to door. 

This is the commentary on the undertaking, directions, grades, breach, and 
benefits, in the case of the house-to-house-seeker's practice. [69] 

35. v. The one-sessioner's practice is undertaken with one of the following statements: 
"I refuse eating in several sessions" or "I undertake the one-sessioner's practice." 

When the one-sessioner sits down in the sitting hall, instead of sitting on an 
elder's seat, he should notice which seat is likely to fall to him and sit down on 
that. If his teacher or preceptor arrives while the meal is still unfinished, it is 
allowable for him to get up and do the duties. But the Elder Tipitaka Cula-Abhaya 
said: "He should either keep his seat [and finish his meal] or [if he gets up he 
should leave the rest of] his meal [in order not to break the ascetic practice]. And 
this is one whose meal is still unfinished; therefore let him do the duties, but in 
that case let him not eat the [rest of the] meal." These are the directions. 

36. This too has three grades. Herein, one who is strict may not take anything 
more than the food that he has laid his hand on whether it is little or much. And if 
people bring him ghee, etc., thinking "The elder has eaten nothing," while these 
are allowable for the purpose of medicine, they are not so for the purpose of food. 
The medium one may take more as long as the meal in the bowl is not exhausted; 
for he is called "one who stops when the food is finished." The mild one may eat 
as long as he does not get up from his seat. He is either "one who stops with the 
water" because he eats until he takes [water for] washing the bowl, or "one who 
stops with the session" because he eats until he gets up. 

The ascetic practice of these three is broken at the moment when food has been 
eaten at more than one session. This is the breach in this instance. 



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37. The benefits are these. He has little affliction and little sickness; he has lightness, 
strength, and a happy life; there is no contravening [rules] about food that is not 
what is left over from a meal; craving for tastes is eliminated; his life conforms to 
the [principles of] fewness of wishes, and so on. 

38. No illness due to eating shall he feel 
Who gladly in one session takes his meal; 
No longing to indulge his sense of taste 
Tempts him to leave his work to go to waste. 
His own true happiness a monk may find 
In eating in one session, pure in mind. 
Purity and effacement wait on this; 

For it gives reason to abide in bliss. 

This is the commentary on the undertaking, directions, grades, breach, and 
benefits, in the case of the one-sessioner's practice. [70] 

39. vi. The bowl-food-eater's practice is undertaken with one of the following statements: 
"I refuse a second vessel" or "I undertake the bowl-food-eater's practice." 

When at the time of drinking rice gruel, the bowl-food eater gets curry that is 
put in a dish; he can first either eat the curry or drink the rice gruel. If he puts it in 
the rice gruel, the rice gruel becomes repulsive when a curry made with cured 
fish, etc., is put into it. So it is allowable [to do this] only in order to use it without 
making it repulsive. Consequently this is said with reference to such curry as that. 
But what is unrepulsive, such as honey, sugar, 13 etc., should be put into it. And in 
taking it he should take the right amount. It is allowable to take green vegetables 
with the hand and eat them. But unless he does that they should be put into the 
bowl. Because a second vessel has been refused it is not allowable [to use] anything 
else, not even the leaf of a tree. These are its directions. 

40. This too has three grades. Herein, for one who is strict, except at the time of 
eating sugarcane, it is not allowed [while eating] to throw rubbish away, and it is 
not allowed while eating to break up rice-lumps, fish, meat and cakes. [The rubbish 
should be thrown away and the rice-lumps, etc., broken up before starting to eat.] 
The medium one is allowed to break them up with one hand while eating; and he 
is called a "hand ascetic." The mild one is called a "bowl ascetic"; anything that 
can be put into his bowl he is allowed, while eating, to break up, [that is, rice lumps, 
etc.,] with his hand or [such things as palm sugar, ginger, etc.,] with his teeth. 

The moment anyone of these three agrees to a second vessel his ascetic practice 
is broken. This is the breach in this instance. 

41 . The benefits are these. Craving for variety of tastes is eliminated; excessiveness 
of wishes is abandoned; he sees the purpose and the [right] amount in nutriment; 
he is not bothered with carrying saucers, etc., about; his life conforms to [the 
principles of] fewness of wishes and so on. 

42. He baffles doubts that might arise 
With extra dishes; downcast eyes 

13. Sakkara — "sugar": spelt sakkhara in PED. 

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The true devotedness imply 14 
Of one uprooting gluttony. 
Wearing content as if 'twere part 
Of his own nature, glad at heart; 
None but a bowl-food eater may 
Consume his food in such a way. 

This is the commentary on the undertaking, directions, grades, breach, and 
benefits, in the case of the bowl-food-eater's practice. [71] 

43. vii. The later-food-refuser's practice is undertaken with one of the following 
statements: "I refuse additional food" or "I undertake the later-food-refuser's 
practice." 

Now, when that later-food refuser has shown that he is satisfied, he should not 
again have the food made allowable [by having it put into his hands according to 
the rule forbhikkhus] and eat it. These are the directions for it. 

44. This too has three grades. Herein, there is no showing that he has had enough 
with respect to the first lump, but there is when he refuses more while that is being 
swallowed. So when one who is strict has thus shown that he has had enough 
[with respect to the second lump], he does not eat the second lump after swallowing 
the first. The medium one eats also that food with respect to which he has shown 
that he has had enough. But the mild one goes on eating until he gets up from his 
seat. 

The moment any one of these three has eaten what has been made allowable 
[again] after he has shown that he has had enough, his ascetic practice is broken. 
This is the breach in this instance. 

45. The benefits are these. One is far from committing an offence concerned with 
extra food; there is no overloading of the stomach; there is no keeping food back; 
there is no renewed search [for food]; he lives in conformity with [the principles 
of] fewness of wishes, and so on. 

46. When a wise man refuses later food 

He needs no extra search in weary mood, 

Nor stores up food till later in the day, 

Nor overloads his stomach in this way. 

So, would the adept from such faults abstain, 

Let him assume this practice for his gain, 

Praised by the Blessed One, which will augment 

The special qualities such as content. 

This is the commentary on the undertaking, directions, grades, breach, and 
benefits, in the case of the later-food-refuser's practice. 

47. viii. The forest-dweller's practice is undertaken with one of the following 
statements: "I refuse an abode in a village" or "I undertake the forest-dweller's 
practice." 

14. Subbata — "truly devoted": fm. su + vata (having good vows). See also §59. 

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48. Now, that forest dweller must leave an abode in a village in order to meet the 
dawn in the forest. Herein, a village abode is the village itself with its precincts. A 
"village" may consist of one cottage or several cottages, it may be enclosed by a 
wall or not, have human inhabitants or not, and it can also be a caravan that is 
inhabited for more than four months. [72] The "village precincts" cover the range 
of a stone thrown by a man of medium stature standing between the gate-posts of 
a walled village, if there are two gate-posts, as at Anuradhapura (cf. Vin III 46). The 
Vinaya experts say that this [stone's throw] is characterized as up to the place 
where a thrown stone falls, as, for instance, when young men exercise their arms 
and throw stones in order to show off their strength. But the Suttanta experts say 
that it is up to where one thrown to scare crows normally falls. In the case of an 
unwalled village, the house precinct is where the water falls when a woman standing 
in the door of the outermost house of all throws water from a basin. Within a 
stone's throw of the kind already described from that point is the village. Within a 
second stone's throw is the village precinct. 

49. "Forest," according to the Vinaya method firstly, is described thus: "Except 
the village and its precincts, all is forest" (Vin III 46). According to the Abhidhamma 
method it is described thus: "Having gone out beyond the boundary post, all that 
is forest" (Vibh 251; Patis I 176). But according to the Suttanta method its 
characteristic is this: "A forest abode is five hundred bow-lengths distant" (Vin IV 
183). That should be defined by measuring it with a strung instructor's bow from 
the gate-post of a walled village, or from the range of the first stone's throw from 
an unwalled one, up to the monastery wall. 

50. But if the monastery is not walled, it is said in the Vinaya commentaries, it 
should be measured by making the first dwelling of all the limit, or else the refectory 
or regular meeting place or Bodhi Tree or shrine, even if that is far from a dwelling 
[belonging to the monastery]. But in the Majjhima commentary it is said that, 
omitting the precincts of the monastery and the village, the distance to be measured 
is that between where the two stones fall. This is the measure here. 

51. Even if the village is close by and the sounds of men are audible to people in 
the monastery, still if it is not possible to go straight to it because of rocks, rivers, 
etc., in between, the five hundred bow -lengths can be reckoned by that road even if 
one has to go by boat. But anyone who blocks the path to the village here and there 
for the purpose of [lengthening it so as to be able to say that he is] taking up the 
practice is cheating the ascetic practice. 

52. If a forest-dwelling bhikkhu's preceptor or teacher is ill and does not get 
what he needs in the forest, [73] he should take him to a village abode and attend 
him there. But he should leave in time to meet the dawn in a place proper for the 
practice. If the affliction increases towards the time of dawn, he must attend him 
and not bother about the purity of his ascetic practice. These are the directions. 

53. This too has three grades. Herein, one who is strict must always meet the dawn 
in the forest. The medium one is allowed to live in a village for the four months of 
the Rains. And the mild one, for the winter months too. 



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If in the period defined any one of these three goes from the forest and hears 
the Dhamma in a village abode, his ascetic practice is not broken if he meets the 
dawn there, nor is it broken if he meets it as he is on his way back after hearing [the 
Dhamma]. But if, when the preacher has got up, he thinks "We shall go after lying 
down awhile" and he meets the dawn while asleep or if of his own choice he meets 
the dawn while in a village abode, then his ascetic practice is broken. This is the 
breach in this instance. 

54. The benefits are these. A forest-dwelling bhikkhu who has given attention to 
the perception of forest (see MN 121) can obtain hitherto unobtained concentration, 
or preserve that already obtained. And the Master is pleased with him, according 
as it is said: "So, Nagita, I am pleased with that bhikkhu's dwelling in the forest" 
(A III 343). And when he lives in a remote abode his mind is not distracted by 
unsuitable visible objects, and so on. He is free from anxiety; he abandons 
attachment to life; he enjoys the taste of the bliss of seclusion, and the state of the 
refuse-rag wearer, etc., becomes him. 

55. He lives secluded and apart, 
Remote abodes delight his heart; 
The Saviour of the world, besides, 
He gladdens that in groves abides. 
The hermit that in woods can dwell 
Alone, may gain the bliss as well 
Whose savour is beyond the price 
Of royal bliss in paradise. 

Wearing the robe of rags he may 
Go forth into the forest fray; 
Such is his mail, for weapons too 
The other practices will do. 

One so equipped can be assured 
Of routing Mara and his horde. 
So let the forest glades delight 
A wise man for his dwelling's site. 

This is the commentary on the undertaking, directions, grades, breach, and 
benefits, in the case of the forest-dweller's practice. [74] 

56. ix. The tree-root-dweller' s practice is undertaken with one of the following 
statements: "I refuse a roof" or "I undertake the tree-root-dweller's practice." 

The tree-root dweller should avoid such trees as a tree near a frontier, a shrine 
tree, a gum tree, a fruit tree, a bats' tree, a hollow tree, or a tree standing in the 
middle of a monastery. He can choose a tree standing on the outskirts of a monastery 
These are the directions. 

57. This has three grades too. Herein, one who is strict is not allowed to have a tree 
that he has chosen tidied up. He can move the fallen leaves with his foot while 
dwelling there. The medium one is allowed to get it tidied up by those who happen 
to come along. The mild one can take up residence there after summoning 

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monastery attendants and novices and getting them to clear it up, level it, strew 
sand and make a fence round with a gate fixed in it. On a special day, a tree-root 
dweller should sit in some concealed place elsewhere rather than there. 

The moment any one of these three makes his abode under a roof, his ascetic 
practice is broken. The reciters of the Anguttara say that it is broken as soon as he 
knowingly meets the dawn under a roof. This is the breach in this instance. 

58. The benefits are these. He practices in conformity with the dependence, because 
of the words "The going forth by depending on the root of a tree as an abode" (Vin 
1 58, 96); it is a requisite recommended by the Blessed One thus "Valueless, easy to 
get, and blameless" (A II 26); perception of impermanence is aroused through 
seeing the continual alteration of young leaves; avarice about abodes and love of 
[building] work are absent; he dwells in the company of deities; he lives in 
conformity with [the principles of] fewness of wishes, and so on. 

59. The Blessed One praised roots of trees 
As one of the dependencies (Vin I 58); 
Can he that loves secludedness 

Find such another dwelling place? 

Secluded at the roots of trees 
And guarded well by deities 
He lives in true devotedness 
Nor covets any dwelling place. [75] 

And when the tender leaves are seen 
Bright red at first, then turning green, 
And then to yellow as they fall, 
He sheds belief once and for all 

In permanence. Tree roots have been 
Bequeathed by him; secluded scene 
No wise man will disdain at all 
For contemplating [rise and fall]. 

This is the commentary on the undertaking, directions, grades, breach, and 
benefits, in the case of the tree-root-dweller's practice. 

60. x. The open-air-dweller's practice is undertaken with one of the following 
statements: "I refuse a roof and a tree root" or "I undertake the open-air-dweller's 
practice." 

An open-air dweller is allowed to enter the Uposatha-house for the purpose of 
hearing the Dhamma or for the purpose of the Uposatha. If it rains while he is 
inside, he can go out when the rain is over instead of going out while it is still 
raining. He is allowed to enter the eating hall or the fire room in order to do the 
duties, or to go under a roof in order to ask elder bhikkhus in the eating hall about 
a meal, or when teaching and taking lessons, or to take beds, chairs, etc., inside 
that have been wrongly left outside. If he is going along a road with a requisite 
belonging to a senior and it rains, he is allowed to go into a wayside rest house. If 
he has nothing with him, he is not allowed to hurry in order to get to a rest house; 

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but he can go at his normal pace and enter it and stay there as long as it rains. These are 
the directions for it. And the same rule applies to the tree-root dweller too. 

61. This has three grades too. Herein, one who is strict is not allowed to live near 
a tree or a rock or a house. He should make a robe-tent right out in the open and 
live in that. The medium one is allowed to live near a tree or a rock or a house so 
long as he is not covered by them. The mild one is allowed these: a [rock] overhang 
without a drip-ledge cut in it, 15 a hut of branches, cloth stiffened with paste, and a 
tent treated as a fixture, that has been left by field watchers, and so on. 

The moment any one of these three goes under a roof or to a tree root to dwell there, 
[76] his ascetic practice is broken. The reciters of the Ahguttara say that it is broken as 
soon as he knowingly meets the dawn there. This is the breach in this case. 

62. The benefits are these: the impediment of dwellings is severed; stiffness and 
torpor are expelled; his conduct deserves the praise "Like deer the bhikkhus live 
unattached and homeless" (S 1 199); he is detached; he is [free to go in] any direction; 
he lives in conformity with [the principles of] fewness of wishes, and so on. 

63. The open air provides a life 

That aids the homeless bhikkhu's strife, 
Easy to get, and leaves his mind 
Alert as a deer, so he shall find 

Stiffness and torpor brought to halt. 
Under the star-bejewelled vault 
The moon and sun furnish his light, 
And concentration his delight. 
The joy seclusion's savour gives 
He shall discover soon who lives 
In open air; and that is why 
The wise prefer the open sky. 

This is the commentary on the undertaking, directions, grades, breach, and 
benefits, in the case of the open-air-dweller's practice. 

64. xi. The charnel-ground-dweller's practice is undertaken with one of the following 
statements: "I refuse what is not a charnel ground" or "I undertake the charnel- 
ground-dweller's practice." 



15. Reading acchinna-mariyadam with Vism-mht, which says: "'Without a drip-ledge 
cut (acchinna-mariyadam)' means without a drip-ledge (mariyada) made above, which 
might come under the heading of a drip-ledge (mariyada-sankhepena) made to prevent 
rain water from coming in. But if the rain water comes under the overhang (pabbhara) 
and is allowed to go in under it, then this comes under the heading of the open air 
(abbhokasika-sahkhepa)" (Vism-mht 84). This seems to refer to the widespread habit in 
ancient Sri Lanka of cutting a drip-ledge on overhanging rocks used for bhikkhus' 
dwellings so that the rain that falls on top of the rock drips down in front of the space 
under the overhang instead of trickling down under the rock and wetting the back and 
floor. Pabbhara in this context is "over hang" rather than "slope." 

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Now, the charnel-ground dweller should not live in some place just because the 
people who built the village have called it "the charnel ground" for it is not a 
charnel ground unless a dead body has been burnt on it. But as soon as one has 
been burnt on it, it becomes a charnel ground. And even if it has been neglected 
for a dozen years, it is so still. 

65. One who dwells there should not be the sort of person who gets walks, 
pavilions, etc., built, has beds and chairs set out and drinking and washing water 
kept ready, and preaches Dhamma; for this ascetic practice is a momentous thing. 
Whoever goes to live there should be diligent. And he should first inform the senior 
elder of the Order or the king's local representative in order to prevent trouble. 
When he walks up and down, he should do so looking at the pyre with half an eye. 
[77] On his way to the charnel ground he should avoid the main roads and take a 
by-path. He should define all the objects [there] while it is day, so that they will not 
assume frightening shapes for him at night. Even if non-human beings wander 
about screeching, he must not hit them with anything. It is not allowed to miss 
going to the charnel ground even for a single day. The reciters of the Anguttara say 
that after spending the middle watch in the charnel ground he is allowed to leave 
in the last watch. He should not take such foods as sesame flour, pease pudding, 
fish, meat, milk, oil, sugar, etc., which are liked by non-human beings. He should 
not enter the homes of families. 16 These are the directions for it. 

66. This has three grades too. Herein, one who is strict should live where there are 
always burnings and corpses and mourning. The medium one is allowed to live 
where there is one of these three. The mild one is allowed to live in a place that 
possesses the bare characteristics of a charnel ground already stated. 

When any one of these three makes his abode in some place not a charnel ground, 
his ascetic practice is broken. It is on the day on which he does not go to the charnel 
ground, the Anguttara reciters say. This is the breach in this case. 

67. The benefits are these. He acquires mindfulness of death; he lives diligently; 
the sign of foulness is available (see Ch. VI); greed for sense desires is removed; he 
constantly sees the body's true nature; he has a great sense of urgency; he abandons 
vanity of health, etc.; he vanquishes fear and dread (MN 4); non-human beings 
respect and honour him; he lives in conformity with [the principles of] fewness of 
wishes, and so on. 

68. Even in sleep the dweller in a charnel ground shows naught 
Of negligence, for death is ever present to his thought; 

He may be sure there is no lust after sense pleasure preys 
Upon his mind, with many corpses present to his gaze. 

Rightly he strives because he gains a sense of urgency, 
While in his search for final peace he curbs all vanity. 
Let him that feels a leaning to Nibbana in his heart 
Embrace this practice for it has rare virtues to impart. 

16. "He should not go into families' houses because he smells of the dead and is 
followed by pisaca goblins" (Vism-mht 84). 

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This is the commentary on the undertaking, directions, grades, breach, and 
benefits, in the case of the charnel-ground dweller's practice. [78] 

69. xii. The any-bed-user's practice is undertaken with one of the following 
statements: "I refuse greed for resting places" or "I undertake the any-bed-user's 
practice." 

The any-bed user should be content with whatever resting place he gets thus: 
"This falls to your lot." He must not make anyone else shift [from his bed]. These 
are the directions. 

70. This has three grades too. Herein, one who is strict is not allowed to ask about 
the resting place that has fallen to his lot: "Is it far?" or "Is it too near?" or "Is it 
infested by non-human beings, snakes, and so on?" or "Is it hot?" or "Is it cold?". 
The medium one is allowed to ask, but not to go and inspect it. The mild one is 
allowed to inspect it and, if he does not like it, to choose another. 

As soon as greed for resting places arises in any one of these three, his ascetic 
practice is broken. This is the breach in this instance. 

71. The benefits are these. The advice "He should be content with what he gets" 
(J-a 1 476; Vin IV 259) is carried out; he regards the welfare of his fellows in the life 
of purity; he gives up caring about inferiority and superiority; approval and 
disapproval are abandoned; the door is closed against excessive wishes; he lives in 
conformity with [the principles] of fewness of wishes, and so on. 

72. One vowed to any bed will be 
Content with what he gets, and he 
Can sleep in bliss without dismay 
On nothing but a spread of hay. 

He is not eager for the best, 
No lowly couch does he detest, 
He aids his young companions too 
That to the monk's good life are new. 

So for a wise man to delight 
In any kind of bed is right; 
A Noble One this custom loves 
As one the sages' Lord approves. 

This is the commentary on the undertaking, directions, grades, breach, and 
benefits, in the case of the any-bed-user's practice. 

73. xiii. The sitter's practice is undertaken with one of the following statements: "I 
refuse lying down" or "I undertake the sitter's practice." 

The sitter can get up in any one of three watches of the night and walk up and 
down: for lying down is the only posture not allowed. These are the directions. [79] 

74. This has three grades too. Herein, one who is strict is not allowed a back-rest 
or cloth band or binding-strap [to prevent falling while asleep]. 17 The medium one 

17. Ayogapatta — "a binding-strap": this is probably the meaning. But cf. Vin II 135 
andVin-a891. 

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is allowed any one of these three. The mild one is allowed a back-rest, a cloth band, 
a binding-strap, a cushion, a "five-limb" and a "seven-limb" A "five-limb" is [a 
chair] made with [four legs and] a support for the back. A "seven-limb" is one 
made with [four legs,] a support for the back and an [arm] support on each side. 
They made that, it seems, for the Elder Pithabhaya (Abhaya of the Chair). The 
elder became a non-returner, and then attained Nibbana. 

As soon as any one of these three lies down, his ascetic practice is broken. This 
is the breach in this instance. 

75. The benefits are these. The mental shackle described thus, "He dwells indulging 
in the pleasure of lying prone, the pleasure of lolling, the pleasure of torpor" (M I 
102), is severed; his state is suitable for devotion to any meditation subject; his 
deportment inspires confidence; his state favours the application of energy; he 
develops the right practice. 

76. The adept that can place crosswise 
His feet to rest upon his thighs 
And sit with back erect shall make 
Foul Mara's evil heart to quake. 
No more in supine joys to plump 
And wallow in lethargic dump; 
Who sits for rest and finds it good 
Shines forth in the Ascetics' Wood. 

The happiness and bliss it brings 
Has naught to do with worldly things; 
So must the sitter's vow befit 
The manners of a man of wit. 

This is the commentary on the undertaking, directions, grades, breach, and 
benefits, in the case of the sitter's practice. 

77. Now, there is the commentary according to the stanza: 

(4) As to the profitable triad, 

(5) "Ascetic" and so on distinguished, 

(6) As to groups, and also (7) singly, 

The exposition should be known (see §3). 

78. 4. Herein, as to the profitable triad: (Dhs, pi) all the ascetic practices, that is to 
say, those of trainers, ordinary men, and men whose cankers have been destroyed, 
may be either profitable or [in the Arahant's case] indeterminate. [80] No ascetic 
practice is unprofitable. 

But if someone should say: There is also an unprofitable ascetic practice because 
of the words "One of evil wishes, a prey to wishes, becomes a forest dweller" (A III 
219), etc., he should be told: We have not said that he does not live in the forest 
with unprofitable consciousness. Whoever has his dwelling in the forest is a forest 
dweller; and he may be one of evil wishes or of few wishes. But, as it was said 
above (§11), they "are the practices (ahga) of a bhikkhu who is ascetic (dhuta) because 
he has shaken off (dhuta) defilement by undertaking one or other of them. Or the 

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knowledge that has got the name "ascetic" (dhuta) because it shakes off (dhunana) 
defilement is a practice {anga) belonging to these, thus they are "ascetic practices" 
(dhutanga). Or alternatively, they are ascetic (dhuta) because they shake off 
(niddhunana) opposition, and they are practices {anga) because they are a way 
(patipatti)." Now, no one called "ascetic" on account of what is unprofitable could 
have these as his practices; nor does what is unprofitable shake off anything so 
that those things to which it belonged as a practice could be called "ascetic 
practices." And what is unprofitable does not both shake off cupidity for robes, 
etc., and become the practice of the way. Consequently it was rightly said that no 
ascetic practice is unprofitable. 

79. And those who hold that an ascetic practice is outside the profitable triad 18 
have no ascetic practice as regards meaning. Owing to the shaking off of what is 
non-existent could it be called an ascetic practice? Also there are the words 
"Proceeded to undertake the ascetic qualities" (Vin III 15), and it follows 19 that 
those words are contradicted. So that should not be accepted. 

This, in the first place, is the commentary on the profitable triad. 

80. 5. As to "ascetic and so on distinguished," the following things should be 
understood, that is to say, ascetic, a preacher of asceticism, ascetic states, ascetic 
practices, and for whom the cultivation of ascetic practices is suitable. 

81. Herein, ascetic means either a person whose defilements are shaken off, or a 
state that entails shaking off defilements. 

A preacher of asceticism: one is ascetic but not a preacher of asceticism, another is 
not ascetic but a preacher of asceticism, another is neither ascetic nor a preacher of 
asceticism, and another is both ascetic and a preacher of asceticism. 

82. Herein, one who has shaken off his defilements with an ascetic practice but 
does not advise and instruct another in an ascetic practice, like the Elder Bakkula, 
is "ascetic but not a preacher of asceticism," according as it is said: "Now, the 
venerable Bakkula was ascetic but not a preacher of asceticism." 

One who [81] has not shaken off his own defilements but only advises and 
instructs another in an ascetic practice, like the Elder Upananda, is "not ascetic but 
a preacher of asceticism," according as it is said: "Now, the venerable Upananda 
son of the Sakyans was not ascetic but a preacher of asceticism." 

One who has failed in both, like Laludayin, is "neither ascetic nor a preacher of 
asceticism," according as it is said: "Now, the venerable Laludayin was neither 
ascetic nor a preacher of asceticism." 

18. For the triads of the Abhidhamma Matika (Abhidhamma Schedule) see Ch. XIII, 
n.20. "'Those who hold': a reference to the inhabitants of the Abhayagiri Monastery at 
Anuradhapura. For they say that ascetic practice is a concept consisting in a name 
(nama-pahnatti). That being so, they could have no meaning of shaking off defilements, 
or possibility of being undertaken, because in the ultimate sense they would be non- 
existent [concepts having no existence]" (Vism-mht 87). Cf. IV29. 

19. Apajjati (and its noun apatti) is the normal word used for undesirable consequences 
that follow on some unsound logical proposition. See XVI.68f. This meaning is not in PED. 

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One who has succeeded in both, like the General of the Dhamma, is "both ascetic 
and a preacher of asceticism," according as it is said: "Now, the venerable Sariputta 
was ascetic and a preacher of asceticism." 

83. Ascetic states: the five states that go with the volition of an ascetic practice, that 
is to say, fewness of wishes, contentment, effacement, seclusion, and that specific 
quality 20 are called "ascetic states' because of the words "Depending on fewness of 
wishes" (A III 219), and so on. 

84. Herein, feloness of wishes and contentment are non-greed. Effacement and 
seclusion belong to the two states, non-greed and non-delusion. That specific quality 
is knowledge. Herein, by means of non-greed a man shakes off greed for things 
that are forbidden. By means of non-delusion he shakes off the delusion that hides 
the dangers in those same things. And by means of non-greed he shakes off 
indulgence in pleasure due to sense desires that occurs under the heading of using 
what is allowed. And by means of non-delusion he shakes off indulgence in self- 
mortification that occurs under the heading of excessive effacement in the ascetic 
practices. That is why these states should be understood as "ascetic states." 

85. Ascetic practices: these should be understood as the thirteen, that is to say, the 
refuse-rag-wearer's practice . . . the sitter's practice, which have already been 
described as to meaning and as to characteristic, and so forth. 

86. For whom the cultivation of ascetic practices is suitable: [they are suitable] for one 
of greedy temperament and for one of deluded temperament. Why? Because the 
cultivation of ascetic practices is both a difficult progress 21 and an abiding in 
effacement; and greed subsides with the difficult progress, while delusion is got 
rid of in those diligent by effacement. Or the cultivation of the forest-dweller's 
practice and the tree-root-dweller's practice here are suitable for one of hating 
temperament; for hate too subsides in one who dwells there without coming into 
conflict. 

This is the commentary "as to 'ascetic' and so on distinguished." [82] 

87. 6. and 7. As to groups and also singly . Now, 6. as to groups: these ascetic practices 
are in fact only eight, that is to say, three principal and five individual practices. 
Herein, the three, namely, the house-to-house-seeker's practice, the one-sessioner's 
practice, and the open-air-dweller's practice, are principal practices. For one who 
keeps the house-to-house-seeker's practice will keep the alms-food-eater's practice; 
and the bowl-food-eater's practice and the later-food-refuser's practice will be well 
kept by one who keeps the one-sessioner's practice. And what need has one who 
keeps the open-air-dweller's practice to keep the tree-root-dweller's practice or 
the any-bed-user's practice? So there are these three principal practices that, 



20. Idamatthita — "that specific quality": "Owing to these profitable states it exists, (thus 
it is 'specific by those'; imehi kusaladhammehi atthi = idam-atthi). The knowledge by means 
of which one who has gone forth should be established in the refuse-rag-wearer's 
practice, etc., and by means of which, on being so instructed one undertakes and persists 
in the ascetic qualities — that knowledge is idamatthita" (Vism-mht 88). 

21. SeeXXI.117. 

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together with the five individual practices, that is to say, the forest-dweller's practice, 
the refuse-rag-wearer's practice, the triple-robe-wearer's practice, the sitter's 
practice, and the charnel-ground-dweller's practice, come to eight only. 

88. Again they come to four, that is to say, two connected with robes, five connected 
with alms food, five connected with the resting place, and one connected with 
energy. Herein, it is the sitter's practice that is connected with energy; the rest are 
obvious. 

Again they all amount to two only, since twelve are dependent on requisites 
and one on energy. Also they are two according to what is and what is not to be 
cultivated. For when one cultivating an ascetic practice finds that his meditation 
subject improves, he should cultivate it; but when he is cultivating one and finds 
that his meditation subject deteriorates, he should not cultivate it. But when he 
finds that, whether he cultivates one or not, his meditation subject only improves 
and does not deteriorate, he should cultivate them out of compassion for later 
generations. And when he finds that, whether he cultivates them or not, his 
meditation subject does not improve, he should still cultivate them for the sake of 
acquiring the habit for the future. So they are of two kinds as what is and what is 
not to be cultivated. 

89. And all are of one kind as volition. For there is only one ascetic practice, 
namely, that consisting in the volition of undertaking. Also it is said in the 
Commentary: "It is the volition that is the ascetic practice, they say." 

90. 7. Singly: with thirteen for bhikkhus, eight for bhikkhums, twelve for novices, 
seven for female probationers and female novices, and two for male and female lay 
followers, there are thus forty-two. 

91 . If there is a charnel ground in the open that complies with the forest-dweller's 
practice, one bhikkhu is able to put all the ascetic practices into effect simultaneously. 

But the two, namely, the forest-dweller's practice and the later-food-refuser's 
practice, are forbidden to bhikkhums by training precept. [83] And it is hard for 
them to observe the three, namely, the open-air-dweller's practice, the tree-root- 
dweller's practice, and the charnel-ground-dweller's practice, because a bhikkhum 
is not allowed to live without a companion, and it is hard to find a female companion 
with like desire for such a place, and even if available, she would not escape having 
to live in company. This being so, the purpose of cultivating the ascetic practice 
would scarcely be served. It is because they are reduced by five owing to this 
inability to make use of certain of them that they are to be understood as eight 
only for bhikkhums. 

92. Except for the triple-robe-wearer's practice all the other twelve as stated should 
be understood to be for novices, and all the other seven for female probationers 
and female novices. 

The two, namely, the one-sessioner's practice and the bowl-food-eater's practice, 
are proper for male and female lay followers to employ. In this way there are two 
ascetic practices. 

This is the commentary "as to groups and also singly." 



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93. And this is the end of the treatise on the ascetic practices to be undertaken for 
the purpose of perfecting those special qualities of fewness of wishes, contentment, 
etc., by means of which there comes about the cleansing of virtue as described in 
the Path of Purification, which is shown under the three headings of virtue, 
concentration, and understanding, contained in the stanza, "When a wise man, 
established well in virtue" (1.1). 

The second chapter called "The Description of the Ascetic 
Practices" in the Path of Purification composed for the 
purpose of gladdening good people. 



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Chapter III 

Taking a Meditation Subject 
(Kammatthana-gahana-niddesa) 

1 . [84] Now, concentration is described under the heading of "consciousness" in 
the phrase "develops consciousness and understanding" (1.1). It should be 
developed by one who has taken his stand on virtue that has been purified by 
means of the special qualities of fewness of wishes, etc., and perfected by observance 
of the ascetic practices. But that concentration has been shown only very briefly 
and so it is not even easy to understand, much less to develop. There is therefore 
the following set of questions, the purpose of which is to show the method of its 
development in detail: 

(i) What is concentration? 

(ii) In what sense is it concentration? 

(iii) What are its characteristic, function, manifestation, and proximate 

cause? 

(iv) How many kinds of concentration are there? 

(v) What is its defilement? 

(vi) What is its cleansing? 

(vii) How should it be developed? 

(viii) What are the benefits of the development of concentration? 1 

2. Here are the answers: 

(i) What is concentration? Concentration is of many sorts and has various 
aspects. An answer that attempted to cover it all would accomplish neither its 
intention nor its purpose and would, besides, lead to distraction; so we shall confine 
ourselves to the kind intended here, calling concentration profitable unification of 
mind. 2 



1. The answer to question (vii) stretches from III. 27 to XI.119. That to question (viii) 
from XI. 120 up to the end of Ch. XIII. 

2. "Cittass' ekaggata" is rendered here as "unification of mind" in the sense of 
agreement or harmony (cf. samagga) of consciousness and its concomitants in focusing 
on a single object (see A I 70). It is sometimes rendered "one-pointedness" in that 
sense, or in the sense of the focusing of a searchlight. It may be concluded that this 
term is simply a synonym for samadhi and nothing more, firstly from its use in the 
suttas, and secondly from the fact that it is given no separate definition in the description 
of the formations aggregate in Ch. XIV Cf. gloss at M-a 1 124. 

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3. (ii) In what sense is it concentration? It is concentration (samadhi) in the sense 
of concentrating (samadhana) . What is this concentrating? It is the centring (adhana) 
of consciousness and consciousness-concomitants evenly (samam) and rightly 
(samma) on a single object; placing, is what is meant. [85] So it is the state in virtue 
of which consciousness and its concomitants remain evenly and rightly on a single 
object, undistracted and unscattered, that should be understood as concentrating. 

4. (iii) What are its characteristic, function, manifestation, and proximate cause? 
Concentration has non-distraction as its characteristic. 3 Its function is to eliminate 
distraction. It is manifested as non-wavering. Because of the words, "Being blissful, 
his mind becomes concentrated" (D I 73), its proximate cause is bliss. 

5. (iv) HOW MANY KINDS OF CONCENTRATION ARE THERE? 

(1) First of all it is of one kind with the characteristic of non-distraction. (2) 
Then it is of two kinds as access and absorption; 4 (3) likewise as mundane and 
supramundane, 5 (4) as with happiness and without happiness, and (5) as 
accompanied by bliss and accompanied by equanimity 6 It is of three kinds (6) as 
inferior, medium and superior; likewise (7) as with applied thought and sustained 
thought, etc., (8) as accompanied by happiness, etc., and (9) as limited, exalted, 
and measureless. It is of four kinds (10) as of difficult progress and sluggish 

3. "The characteristic of non-distraction is the individual essence peculiar to 
concentration. Hence no analysis of it is possible, which is why he said: 'It is of one kind 
with the characteristic of non-distraction'" (Vism-mht 91). 

4. "Applied thought that occurs as though absorbing (appento) associated states in 
the object is absorption (appana). Accordingly it is described as 'absorption, absorbing 
(appana vyappana)' (M III 73). Now since that is the most important, the usage of the 
Commentaries is to call all exalted and unsurpassed jhana states 'absorption' [as well 
as the applied thought itself], and likewise to apply the term of common usage 'access' 
to the limited [i.e. sense-sphere] jhana that heralds the arising of the former, just as the 
term 'village access,' etc. is applied to the neighbourhood of a village" (Vism-mht 91). 

5. "The round (vatta, see XVII. 298) [including fine-material and immaterial heavens] 
is called the world (loka) because of its crumbling (lujjana) and disintegrating (palujjana). 
'Mundane' (lokiya) means connected with the world because of being included in it or 
found there. 'Supramundane' (loknttara) means beyond the world, excepted from it, 
because of not being included in it [through being associated with Nibbana]" (Vism- 
mht 91). See also "nine supramundane states. (VII.68, 74f.)" 

6. In loose usage piti (happiness) and sukha (pleasure or bliss) are almost synonyms. 
They become differentiated in the jhana formulas (see IV100), and then technically pit i, 
as the active thrill of rapture, is classed under the formations aggregate and sukha under 
the feeling aggregate. The valuable word "happiness" was chosen for piti rather than 
the possible alternatives of "joy" (needed for somanassa), "interest" (which is too flat), 
"rapture" (which is overcharged), or "zest." For sukha, while "pleasure" seemed to fit 
admirably where ordinary pleasant feeling is intended, another, less crass, word seemed 
necessary for the refined pleasant feeling of jhana and the "bliss" of Nibbana (which is 
not feeling aggregate — see M I 400). "Ease" is sometimes used. 

"Neither-painful-nor-pleasant feeling is intended here by 'equanimity' (npekkha, lit, 
onlooking); for it 'looks on' (upekkhati) at the occurrence of [bodily] pleasure and pain 
by maintaining the neutral (central) mode" (Vism-mht 92). 

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direct-knowledge, etc.; likewise (11) as limited with limited object, etc., (12) 
according to the factors of the four jhanas, (13) as partaking of diminution, etc., 
(14) as of the sense sphere, etc., and (15) as predominance, and so on. (16) It is of 
five kinds according to the factors of the five jhanas reckoned by the fivefold method. 

6. 1. Herein, the section dealing with that of one kind is evident in meaning. 

2. In the section dealing with that of two kinds, access concentration is the 
unification of mind obtained by the following, that is to say, the six recollections, 
mindfulness of death, the recollection of peace, the perception of repulsiveness in 
nutriment, and the defining of the four elements, and it is the unification that 
precedes absorption concentration. Absorption concentration is the unification that 
follows immediately upon the preliminary-work (IV74) because of the words, "The 
first-jhana preliminary-work is a condition, as proximity condition, for the first 
jhana" (Patth II 350 (Se). So it is of two kinds as access and absorption. 

7. 3. In the second dyad mundane concentration is profitable unification of mind 
in the three planes. Supramundane concentration is the unification associated with 
the noble paths. So it is of two kinds as mundane and supramundane. 

8. 4. In the third dyad concentration with happiness is the unification of mind in 
two jhanas in the fourfold reckoning and in three jhanas in the fivefold reckoning. 
[86] Concentration without happiness is the unification in the remaining two jhanas. 
But access concentration may be with happiness or without happiness. So it is of 
two kinds as with happiness and without happiness. 

9. 5. In the fourth dyad concentration accompanied by bliss is the unification in 
three jhanas in the fourfold and four in the fivefold reckoning. That accompanied by 
equanimity is that in the remaining jhana. Access concentration may be accompanied 
by bliss or accompanied by equanimity. So it is of two kinds as accompanied by 
bliss and accompanied by equanimity. 

10. 6. In the first of the triads what has only just been acquired is inferior. What is 
not very well developed is medium. What is well developed and has reached mastery 
is superior. So it is of three kinds as inferior, medium, and superior. 

11. 7. In the second triad that with applied thought and sustained thought is the 
concentration of the first jhana together with access concentration. That without 
applied thought, with sustained thought only, is the concentration of the second jhana 
in the fivefold reckoning. For when a man sees danger only in applied thought 
and not in sustained thought, he aspires only to abandon applied thought when 
he passes beyond the first jhana, and so he obtains concentration without applied 
thought and with sustained thought only. This is said with reference to him. 
Concentration without applied thought and sustained thought is the unification in the 
three jhanas beginning with the second in the fourfold reckoning and with the 
third in the fivefold reckoning (see D III 219). So it is of three kinds as with applied 
thought and sustained thought, and so on. 

12. 8. In the third triad concentration accompanied by happiness is the unification 
in the two first jhanas in the fourfold reckoning and in the three first jhanas in the 
fivefold reckoning. Concentration accompanied by bliss is the unification in those 
same jhanas and in the third and the fourth respectively in the two reckonings. 

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That accompanied by equanimity is that in the remaining jhana. Access concentration 
may be accompanied by bliss and happiness or accompanied by equanimity. So it 
is of three kinds as accompanied by happiness, and so on. 

13. 9. In the fourth triad limited concentration is unification on the plane of access. 
Exalted concentration is unification in profitable [consciousness, etc.,] of the fine- 
material sphere and immaterial sphere. Measureless concentration is unification 
associated with the noble paths. So it is of three kinds as limited, exalted, and 
measureless. 

14. 10. In the first of the tetrads there is concentration of difficult progress and 
sluggish direct-knowledge. There is that of difficult progress and swift direct- 
knowledge. There is that of easy progress and sluggish direct-knowledge. And 
there is that of easy progress and swift direct-knowledge. 

15. Herein, the development of concentration that occurs from the time of the 
first conscious reaction up to the arising of the access of a given jhana is called 
progress. And the understanding that occurs from the time of access until absorption 
is called direct-knowledge. That progress is difficult for some, being troublesome 
owing to the tenacious resistance of the inimical states beginning with the 
hindrances. The meaning is that it is cultivated without ease. [87] It is easy for 
others because of the absence of those difficulties. Also the direct-knowledge is 
sluggish in some and occurs slowly, not quickly. In others it is swift and occurs 
rapidly, not slowly. 

16. Herein, we shall comment below upon the suitable and unsuitable (IV35f.), the 
preparatory tasks consisting in the severing of impediments (IV20), etc., and skill in 
absorption (IV42). When a man cultivates what is unsuitable, his progress is difficult 
and his direct-knowledge sluggish. When he cultivates what is suitable, his progress is 
easy and his direct-knowledge swift. But if he cultivates the unsuitable in the earlier 
stage and the suitable in the later stage, or if he cultivates the suitable in the earlier 
stage and the unsuitable in the later stage, then it should be understood as mixed in 
his case. Likewise if he devotes himself to development without carrying out the 
preparatory tasks of severing impediments, etc., his progress is difficult. It is easy in 
the opposite case. And if he is not accomplished in skill in absorption, his direct- 
knowledge is sluggish. It is swift if he is so accomplished. 

17. Besides, they should be understood as classed according to craving and 
ignorance, and according to whether one has had practice in serenity and insight. 7 
For if a man is overwhelmed by craving, his progress is difficult. If not, it is easy. 
And if he is overwhelmed by ignorance, his direct-knowledge is sluggish. If not, it 
is swift. And if he has had no practice in serenity, his progress is difficult. If he has, 
it is easy. And if he has had no practice in insight, his direct-knowledge is sluggish. 
If he has, it is swift. 

18. Also they should be understood as classed according to defilements and 
faculties. For if a man's defilements are sharp and his faculties dull, then his progress 

7. Samatha — "serenity" is a synonym for absorption concentration, and "insight" 
(vipassana) a synonym for understanding. Samatha is sometimes rendered by 
"tranquillity" (reserved here for passaddhi) or "calm" or "quiet." 

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is difficult and his direct-knowledge sluggish; but if his faculties are keen, his 
direct-knowledge is swift. And if his defilements are blunt and his faculties dull, 
then his progress is easy and his direct-knowledge sluggish; but if his faculties are 
keen, his direct-knowledge is swift. 

19. So as regards this progress and this direct-knowledge, when a person reaches 
concentration with difficult progress and sluggish direct-knowledge, his 
concentration is called concentration of difficult progress and sluggish direct-knowledge; 
similarly in the cases of the remaining three. 

So it is of four kinds as of difficult progress and sluggish direct-knowledge, and 
so on. 

20. 11. In the second tetrad there is limited concentration with a limited object, 
there is limited concentration with a measureless object, there is measureless 
concentration with a limited object, and there is measureless concentration with a 
measureless object. Herein, concentration that is unfamiliar and incapable of being 
a condition for a higher jhana [88] is limited. When it occurs with an unextended 
object (IV126), it is with a limited object. When it is familiar, well developed, and 
capable of being a condition for a higher jhana, it is measureless. And when it occurs 
with an extended object, it is with a measureless object. The mixed method can be 
understood as the mixture of the characteristics already stated. So it is of four 
kinds as limited with limited object, and so on. 

21. 12. In the third tetrad the first jhana has five factors, that is to say, applied 
thought, sustained thought, happiness, bliss, and concentration, following 
suppression of the hindrances. The second has the three factors remaining after 
the elimination of applied and sustained thought. The third has two factors with 
the fading away of happiness. The fourth, where bliss is abandoned, has two factors 
with concentration and the equanimous feeling that accompanies it. Thus there 
are four kinds of concentration according to the factors of these four jhanas. So it is 
of four kinds according to the factors of the four jhanas. 

22. 13. In the fourth tetrad there is concentration partaking of diminution, there 
is concentration partaking of stagnation, there is concentration partaking of 
distinction, and there is concentration partaking of penetration. Herein, it should 
be understood that the state of partaking of diminution is accessibility to opposition, 
the state of partaking of stagnation (thiti) is stationariness (santhana) of the 
mindfulness that is in conformity with that [concentration], the state of partaking of 
distinction is the attaining of higher distinction, and the state of partaking of 
penetration is accessibility to perception and attention accompanied by dispassion, 
according as it is said: "When a man has attained the first jhana and he is accessible 
to perception and attention accompanied by sense desire, then his understanding 
partakes of diminution. When his mindfulness that is in conformity with that 
stagnates, then his understanding partakes of stagnation. When he is accessible to 
perception and attention unaccompanied by applied thought, then his 
understanding partakes of distinction. When he is accessible to perception and 
attention accompanied by dispassion and directed to fading away, then his 
understanding partakes of penetration" (Vibh 330). The kinds of concentration 



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associated with that [fourfold] understanding are also four in number. So it is of 
four kinds as partaking of diminution, and so on. 

23. 14. In the fifth tetrad there are the following four kinds of concentration, that 
is to say, sense-sphere concentration, fine-material-sphere concentration, immaterial- 
sphere concentration, and unincluded [that is, path] concentration. Herein, sense- 
sphere concentration is all kinds of access unification. Likewise the other three are 
respectively profitable unification of mind associated with fine-material, 
[immaterial, and path, jhana]. So it is of four kinds as of the sense-sphere, and so 
on. 

24. 15. In the sixth tetrad: "If a bhikkhu obtains concentration, obtains unification 
of mind, by making zeal (desire) predominant, [89] this is called concentration 
due to zeal. If ... by making energy predominant ... If ... by making [natural purity 
of] consciousness predominant... If ... by making inquiry predominant, this is 
called concentration due to inquiry" (Vibh 216-19). So it is of four kinds as 
predominance. 

25. 16. In the pentad there are five jhanas by dividing in two what is called the 
second jhana in the fourfold reckoning (see §21), taking the second jhana to be due 
to the surmounting of only applied thought and the third jhana to be due to the 
surmounting of both applied and sustained thought. There are five kinds of 
concentration according to the factors of these five jhanas. So its fivefoldness should 
be understood according to the five sets of jhana factors. 

26. (v) What is its defilement? (vi) What is its cleansing? Here the answer is given 
in the Vibhariga: "Defilement is the state partaking of diminution, cleansing is the 
state partaking of distinction" (Vibh 343). Herein, the state partaking of diminution 
should be understood in this way: "When a man has attained the first jhana and he 
is accessible to perception and attention accompanied by sense desire, then his 
understanding partakes of diminution" (Vibh 330). And the state partaking of 
distinction should be understood in this way: "When he is accessible to perception 
and attention unaccompanied by applied thought, then his understanding partakes 
of distinction" (Vibh 330). 

27. (vii) Hoiv should it be developed? 

[A. Development in Brief] 

The method of developing the kind of concentration associated with the noble 
paths mentioned (§7) under that "of two kinds as mundane and supramundane," 
etc., is included in the method of developing understanding; (Ch. XXII) for in 
developing [path] understanding that is developed too. So we shall say nothing 
separately [here] about how that is to be developed. 

28. But mundane concentration should be developed by one who has taken his 
stand on virtue that is quite purified in the way already stated. He should sever 
any of the ten impediments that he may have. He should then approach the good 
friend, the giver of a meditation subject, and he should apprehend from among 
the forty meditation subjects one that suits his own temperament. After that he 
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go to live in one that is favourable. Then he should sever the lesser impediments 
and not overlook any of the directions for development. This is in brief. 

[B. Development in Detail] 

29. The detail is this: 

[The Ten Impediments] 
Firstly it was said above, he should sever any of the ten impediments that he may 
have. [90] Now, the "ten impediments" are: 

A dwelling, family, and gain, 
A class, and building too as fifth, 
And travel, kin, affliction, books, 
And supernormal powers: ten. 

Herein, the dwelling itself is the "impediment due to the dwelling." So too with 
the family and so on. 

30. 1. Herein, a single inner room or a single hut or a whole monastery for the 
Community is called a dwelling. This is not an impediment for everyone. It is an 
impediment only for anyone whose mind is exercised about the building, etc., that 
goes on there, or who has many belongings stored there, or whose mind is caught 
up by some business connected with it. For any other it is not an impediment. 

31. Here is a relevant story. Two clansmen left Anuradhapura, it seems, and 
eventually went forth at the Thuparama. 8 One of them made himself familiar with 
the Two Codes, 9 and when he had acquired five years' seniority, he took part in the 
Pavarana 10 and then left for the place called Pacinakhandaraji. 11 The other stayed 
on where he was. Now, when the one who had gone to Pacinakhandaraji had lived 
there a long time and had become an elder, 12 he thought, "This place is good for 
retreat; suppose I told my friend about it?" So he set out, and in due course he 
entered the Thuparama. As he entered, the elder of the same seniority saw him, 
went to meet him, took his bowl and robe and did the duties. 

8. One of the principal monasteries in Anuradhapura. 

9. Dve matika — the "two codes": see Ch. I, n. 11. But Vism-mht says here: "'Observers 
of the codes' are observers of the codes (summaries) of the Dhamma and 
Vinaya" (Vism-mht 117). 

10. Pavarana: ceremony held at the end of the rains, during three months of which 
season bhikkhus have to undertake to live in one place in order to avoid travel while 
crops are growing. It consists in a meeting of the bhikkhus who have spent the rains 
together, at which each member present invites (pavareti) the Community to point out 
his faults (breaches of Vinaya rules) committed during the preceding three months 
(VinI155). 

11. " Pacinakhandaraja ti puratthimadisaya pabbatakhandanam antare vanarajttthanam" 
(Vism-mht 97). 

12. For the first five years after the admission (upasampada) a bhikkhu is called a "new 
(nava) bhikkhu"; from five to ten years he is called a "middle (majjhima) bhikkhu"; 
with ten or more years' seniority he is called an "elder (thera) bhikkhu." 

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32. The visiting elder went into his lodging. He thought, "Now my friend will be 
sending me ghee or molasses or a drink; for he has lived long in this city." He got 
nothing that night, and in the morning he thought, "Now he will be sending me 
rice gruel and solid food sent by his supporters." When he saw none, he thought, 
"There is no one to bring it. No doubt they will give it when we go into the town." 
Early in the morning they went into the town together. When they had wandered 
through one street and had got only a ladleful of gruel, they sat down in a sitting 
hall to drink it. 13 

33. Then the visitor thought, "Perhaps there is no individual giving of gruel. But 
as soon as it is the time for the meal people will give special food." But when it was 
time for the meal, they ate what they had got by wandering for alms. Then the 
visitor said, "Venerable sir, how is this? Do you live in this way all the time?" — 
"Yes, friend." — "Venerable sir, Pacinakhandaraji is comfortable; let us go there." 
Now, as the elder came out from the city [91] by the southern gate he took the 
Kumbhakaragama road [which leads to Pacinakhandaraji]. The visitor asked, "But, 
venerable sir, why do you take this road?" — "Did you not recommend 
Pacinakhandaraji, friend?" — "But how is this, venerable sir, have you no extra 
belongings in the place you have lived in for so long?" — "That is so, friend. The 
bed and chair belong to the Community, and they are put away [as usual]. There is 
nothing else." — "But, venerable sir, I have left my staff and my oil tube and my 
sandal bag there." — "Have you already collected so much, friend, living there for 
just one day?" — "Yes, venerable sir." 

34. He was glad in his heart, and he paid homage to the elder: "For those like 
you, venerable sir, everywhere is a forest dwelling. The Thuparama is a place where 
the relics of four Buddhas are deposited; there is suitable hearing of the Dhamma 
in the Brazen Palace; there is the Great Shrine to be seen; and one can visit elders. 
It is like the time of the Buddha. It is here that you should live." On the following 
day he took his bowl and [outer] robe and went away by himself. It is no impediment 
for one like that. 

35. 2 Family means a family consisting of relatives or of supporters. For even a 
family consisting of supporters is an impediment for someone who lives in close 
association with it in the way beginning, "He is pleased when they are pleased" (S 
III 11), and who does not even go to a neighbouring monastery to hear the Dhamma 
without members of the family. 

36. But even mother and father are not an impediment for another, as in the case 
of the young bhikkhu, the nephew of the elder who lived at the Korandaka 
Monastery. He went to Rohana for instruction, it seems. The elder's sister, who was 
a lay devotee, was always asking the elder how her son was getting on. One day 
the elder set out for Rohana to fetch him back. 

37. The young bhikkhu too thought, "I have lived here for a long time. Now I 
might go and visit my preceptor and find out how the lay devotee is," and he left 

13. The last sentence here might refer to a free mass distribution of gruel (i/agu), which 
appears to have been more or less constantly maintained at Anuradhapura. 



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Rohana. The two met on the banks of the [Mahaveli] River. He did the duties to the 
elder at the foot of a tree. When asked, "Where are you going?" he told him his 
purpose. The elder said: "You have done well. The lay devotee is always asking 
after you. That was why I came. You may go, but I shall stay here for the Rains," 
and he dismissed him. [92] He arrived at the monastery on the actual day for taking 
up residence for the Rains. The lodging allotted to him happened to be the one for 
which his father had undertaken responsibility. 

38. His father came on the following day and asked, "To whom was our lodging 
allotted, venerable sirs?" When he heard that it had fallen to a young visitor, he 
went to him. After paying homage to him, he said, "Venerable sir, there is an 
obligation for him who has taken up residence for the Rains in our lodging." — 
"What is it, lay follower?" — "It is to take alms food only in our house for the three 
months, and to let us know the time of departure after the Pavarana ceremony." 
He consented in silence. The lay devotee went home and told his wife. "There is a 
visiting lord who has taken up residence for the Rains in our lodging. He must be 
carefully looked after," and she agreed. She prepared good food of various kinds 
for him. 14 Though the youth went to his relatives' home at the time of the meal, no 
one recognized him. 

39. When he had eaten alms food there during the three months and had 
completed the residence for the Rains, he announced his departure. Then his 
relatives said, "Let it be tomorrow, venerable sir," and on the following day, when 
they had fed him in their house and filled his oil tube and given him a lump of 
sugar and a nine-cubit length of cloth, they said, "Now you are leaving, venerable 
sir." He gave his blessing and set out for Rohana. 

40. His preceptor had completed the Pavarana ceremony and was on his way 
back. They met at the same place as before. He did the duties to the elder at the 
foot of a tree. The elder asked him, "How was it, my dear, did you see the good 
woman lay devotee?" He replied, "Yes, venerable sir," and he told him all that had 
happened. He then anointed the elder's feet with the oil, made him a drink with 
the sugar, and presented him with the length of cloth. He then, after paying homage 
to the elder, told him, "Venerable sir, only Rohana suits me," and he departed. The 
elder too arrived back at his monastery, and next day he went into the village of 
Korandaka. 

41. The lay devotee, his sister, had always kept looking down the road, thinking, 
"My brother is now coming with my son." When she saw him coming alone, she 
thought, "My son must be dead; that is why the elder is coming alone," and she 
fell at the elder's feet, lamenting and weeping. Suspecting that it must have been 
out of fewness of wishes that the youth had gone away without announcing himself, 
[93] the elder comforted her and told her all that had happened, and he took the 
length of cloth out of his bag and showed it to her. 



14. It is usual to render the set phrase pamtam khadanlyam bhojanlyam by some such 
phrase as "sumptuous food both hard and soft," which is literal but unfamiliar- 
sounding. 

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42. She was appeased. She prostrated herself in the direction taken by her son, 
and she said: "Surely the Blessed One taught the way of the Rathavimta, the way 
of the Nalaka, the way of the Tuvataka, and the way of the great Noble Ones' 
heritages 15 showing contentment with the four requisites and delight in 
development, making a bhikkhu such as my son a body -witness. So, although for 
three months he ate in the house of the mother who bore him, yet he never said 'I 
am your son, you are my mother!' Oh, admirable man!" Even mother and father 
are no impediment for one such as him, so how much less any other family that 
supports him. 

43. 3. Gain is the four requisites. How are they an impediment? Wherever a 
meritorious bhikkhu goes, people give him a large supply of requisites. With giving 
blessings to them and teaching them the Dhamma he gets no chance to do the 
ascetic's duties. From sunrise till the first watch of the night he never breaks his 
association with people. Again, even at dawn, alms-food eaters fond of opulence 
come and say, "Venerable sir, such and such a man lay follower, woman lay follower, 
friend, friend's daughter, wants to see you," and being ready to go, he replies, 
"Take the bowl and robe, friend." So he is always on the alert. Thus these requisites 
are an impediment for him. He should leave his group and wander by himself 
where he is not known. This is the way his impediment is severed. 

44. 4 Class is a class (group) of students of suttas or students of Abhidhamma. If 
with the group's instruction and questioning he gets no opportunity for the ascetic's 
duties, then that group is an impediment for him. He should sever that impediment 
in this way: if those bhikkhus have already acquired the main part and little still 
remains, he should finish that off and then go to the forest. If they have only acquired 
little and much still remains, [94] he should, without travelling more than a league, 
approach another instructor of a class within the radius of a league and say, "Help 
those venerable ones with instruction, etc." If he does not find anyone in this way, 
he should take leave of the class, saying. "I have a task to see to, friends; go where 
it suits you," and he should do his own work. 

45. 5. Building (kamma) is new building work (nava-kamma). Since one engaged 
in this must know about what [material] has and has not been got by carpenters, 
etc., and must see about what has and has not been done, it is always an impediment. 
It should be severed in this way. If little remains it should be completed. If much 
remains, it should be handed over to the Community or to bhikkhus who are 
entrusted with the Community's affairs, if it is a new building for the Community; 
or if it is for himself, it should be handed over to those whom he entrusts with his 
own affairs, but if these are not available, he should relinquish it to the Community 
and depart. 

15. "The way of the Rathavimta (Rathavintta-patipada)": this is a reference to certain 
suttas that were adopted by bhikkhus as a "way" (patipada) or guide to practice. The 
suttas mentioned here are Rathavimta (M 1 145), Nalaka (Sn, p. 131), Tuvataka (Sn 179), 
Noble One's Heritages (ariyavamsa — A II 27). Others are mentioned at M-a I 92; III 6; 
S-a III 291. The Ariyavamsa Sutta itself has a long commentary on practice, and it is 
mentioned in the Commentaries as a popular subject for preaching (see e.g. commentary 
to AN III 42). 

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46. 6. Travel is going on a journey. If someone is expected to give the going forth 
somewhere else, or if some requisite is obtainable there and he cannot rest content 
without getting it [that will be an impediment; for] even if he goes into the forest 
to do the ascetic's duties, he will find it hard to get rid of thoughts about the journey. 
So one in this position should apply himself to the ascetic's duties after he has 
done the journey and transacted the business. 

47. 7 Kin in the case of the monastery means teacher, preceptor, co-resident, pupil, 
those with the same preceptor as oneself, and those with the same teacher as oneself; 
and in the case of the house it means mother, father, brother, and so on. When they 
are sick they are an impediment for him. Therefore that impediment should be 
severed by curing them with nursing. 

48. Herein, when the preceptor is sick he must be cared for as long as life lasts if 
the sickness does not soon depart. Likewise the teacher at the going forth, the 
teacher at the admission, the co-resident, the pupils to whom one has given the 
admission and the going forth, and those who have the same preceptor. But the 
teacher from whom one takes the dependence, the teacher who gives one 
instruction, the pupil to whom one has given the dependence, the pupil to whom 
one is giving instruction, and those who have that same teacher as oneself, should 
be looked after as long as the dependence or the instruction has not been terminated. 
If one is able to do so, one should look after them even beyond that [period]. 

49. Mother and father should be treated like the preceptor; if they live within the 
kingdom and look to their son for help, it should be given. [95] Also if they have no 
medicine, he should give them his own. If he has none, he should go in search of it 
as alms and give that. But in the case of brothers or sisters, one should only give 
them what is theirs. If they have none, then one should give one's own temporarily 
and later get it back, but one should not complain if one does not get it back. It is 
not allowed either to make medicine for or to give it to a sister's husband who is 
not related by blood; but one can give it to one's sister saying, "Give it to your 
husband." The same applies to one's brother's wife. But it is allowed to make it for 
their children since they are blood relatives. 

50. 8. Affliction is any kind of illness. It is an impediment when it is actually 
afflicting; therefore it should be severed by treatment with medicine. But if it is not 
cured after taking medicine for a few days, then the ascetic's duties should be 
done after apostrophizing one's person in this way: "I am not your slave, or your 
hireling. I have come to suffering through maintaining you through the 
beginningless round of rebirths." 

51. 9. Books means responsibility for the scriptures. That is an impediment only 
for one who is constantly busy with recitations, etc., but not for others. Here are 
relevant stories. The Elder Revata, it seems, the Majjhima reciter, went to the Elder 
Revata, the dweller in Malaya (the Hill Country), and asked him for a meditation 
subject. The elder asked him, "How are you in the scriptures, friend?" — "I am 
studying the Majjhima [Nikaya], venerable sir." — "The Majjhima is a hard 
responsibility, friend. When a man is still learning the First Fifty by heart, he is 
faced with the Middle Fifty; and when he is still learning that by heart, he is faced 



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with the Last Fifty. How can you take up a meditation subject?" — "Venerable sir, 
when I have taken a meditation subject from you, I shall not look at the scriptures 
again." He took the meditation subject, and doing no recitation for nineteen years, 
he reached Arahantship in the twentieth year. He told bhikkhus who came for 
recitation: "I have not looked at the scriptures for twenty years, friends, [96] yet I 
am familiar with them. You may begin." And from beginning to end he had no 
hesitation even over a single syllable. 

52. The Elder Maha-Naga, too, who lived at Karuliyagiri (Karaliyagiri) put aside 
the scriptures for eighteen years, and then he recited the Dhatukatha to the 
bhikkhus. When they checked this with the town-dwelling elders [of Anuradha- 
pura], not a single question was found out of its order. 

53. In the Great Monastery too the Elder Tipitaka-Cula-Abhaya had the golden 
drum struck, saying: "I shall expound the three Pitakas in the circle of [experts in] 
the Five Collections of discourses," and this was before he had learnt the 
commentaries. The Community of Bhikkhus said, '"Which teachers' teaching is 
it? Unless you give only the teaching of our own teachers we shall not let you 
speak." Also his preceptor asked him when he went to wait on him, "Did you have 
the drum beaten, friend?" — "Yes, venerable sir." — "For what reason?" — "I shall 
expound the scriptures, venerable sir." — "Friend Abhaya, how do the teachers 
explain this passage?" — "They explain it in this way, venerable sir." The elder 
dissented, saying "Hum." Again three times, each time in a different way, he said, 
"They explain it in this way, venerable sir." The elder always dissented, saying, 
"Hum." Then he said, "Friend, your first explanation was the way of the teachers. 
But it is because you have not actually learnt it from the teachers' lips that you are 
unable to maintain that the teachers say such and such. Go and learn it from our 
own teachers." — "Where shall I go, venerable sir?" — "There is an elder named Maha 
Dhammarakkhita living in the Tuladharapabbata Monastery in the Rohana country 
beyond the [Mahaveli] River. He knows all the scriptures. Go to him." Saying, 
"Good, venerable sir," he paid homage to the elder. He went with five hundred 
bhikkhus to the Elder Maha-Dhammarakkhita, and when he had paid homage to 
him, he sat down. The elder asked, "Why have you come?" — "To hear the Dhamma, 
venerable sir." — "Friend Abhaya, they ask me about the Digha and the Majjhima 
from time to time, but I have not looked at the others for thirty years. Still you may 
repeat them in my presence by night, and I shall explain them to you by day." He 
said, "Good, venerable sir," and he acted accordingly. 

54. The inhabitants of the village had a large pavilion built at the door of his 
dwelling, and they came daily to hear the Dhamma. Explaining by day what had 
been repeated by night, [97] the Elder [Dhammarakkhita] eventually completed 
the instruction. Then he sat down on a mat on the ground before the Elder Abhaya 
and said, "Friend, explain a meditation subject to me." — "What are you saying, 
venerable sir, have I not heard it all from you? What can I explain to you that you 
do not already know?" The senior elder said, "This path is different for one who 
has actually travelled by." 

55. The Elder Abhaya was then, it seems, a stream-enterer. When the Elder Abhaya 
had given his teacher a meditation subject, he returned to Anuradhapura. Later, 

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while he was expounding the Dhamma in the Brazen Palace, he heard that the 
elder had attained Nibbana. On hearing this, he said, "Bring me [my] robe, friends." 
Then he put on the robe and said, "The Arahant path befits our teacher, friends. 
Our teacher was a true thoroughbred. He sat down on a mat before his own 
Dhamma pupil and said, 'Explain a meditation subject to me.' The Arahant path 
befits our teacher, friends." 

For such as these, books are no impediment. 

56. 10. Supernormal powers are the supernormal powers of the ordinary man. 
They are hard to maintain, like a prone infant or like young corn, and the 
slightest thing breaks them. But they are an impediment for insight, not for 
concentration, since they are obtainable through concentration. So the 
supernormal powers are an impediment that should be severed by one who 
seeks insight; the others are impediments to be severed by one who seeks 
concentration. 

This, in the first place, is the detailed explanation of the impediments. 

57. Approach the good friend, the giver of a meditation subject (§28): meditation subjects 
are of two kinds, that is, generally useful meditation subjects and special meditation 
subjects. Herein, loving-kindness towards the Community of Bhikkhus, etc., and 
also mindfulness of death are what are called generally useful meditation subjects. 
Some say perception of foulness, too. 

58. When a bhikkhu takes up a meditation subject, he should first develop 
loving-kindness towards the Community of Bhikkhus within the boundary 16 
limiting it at first [to "all bhikkhus in this monastery"], in this way: "May they 
be happy and free from affliction." Then he should develop it towards all deities 
within the boundary. Then towards all the principal people in the village that 
is his alms resort; then to [all human beings there and to] all living beings 
dependent on the human beings. With loving-kindness towards the Community 
of Bhikkhus he produces kindliness in his co-residents; then they are easy for 
him to live with. With loving-kindness towards the deities within the boundary 
he is protected by kindly deities with lawful protection. [98] With loving- 
kindness towards the principal people in the village that is his alms resort his 
requisites are protected by well-disposed principal people with lawful 
protection. With loving-kindness to all human beings there he goes about 
without incurring their dislike since they trust him. With loving-kindness to 
all living beings he can wander unhindered everywhere. 

With mindfulness of death, thinking, "I have got to die," he gives up improper 
search (see S II 194; M-a 1 115), and with a growing sense of urgency he comes to 
live without attachment. When his mind is familiar with the perception of foulness, 
then even divine objects do not tempt his mind to greed. 



16. Sima — "boundary": loosely used in this sense, it corresponds vaguely to what is meant 
by "parish." In the strict sense it is the actual area (usually a "chapter house") agreed 
according to the rules laid down in the Vinaya and marked by boundary stones, within 
which the Community (sangha) carries out its formal acts. 

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59. So these are called "generally useful" and they are "called meditation subjects" 
since they are needed 17 generally and desirable owing to their great helpfulness 
and since they are subjects for the meditation work intended. 

60. What is called a "special meditation subject" is that one from among the forty 
meditation subjects that is suitable to a man's own temperament. It is "special" 
(parihariya) because he must carry it (pariharitabbatta) constantly about with him, 
and because it is the proximate cause for each higher stage of development. 

So it is the one who gives this twofold meditation subject that is called the giver 
of a meditation subject. 

61. The good friend is one who possesses such special qualities as these: 

He is revered and dearly loved, 

And one who speaks and suffers speech; 

The speech he utters is profound, 

He does not urge without a reason (A IV 32) and so on. 

He is wholly solicitous of welfare and partial to progress. 

62. Because of the words beginning, "Ananda, it is owing to my being a good 
friend to them that living beings subject to birth are freed from birth" (S I 88), it is 
only the Fully Enlightened One who possesses all the aspects of the good friend. 
Since that is so, while he is available only a meditation subject taken in the Blessed 
One's presence is well taken. 

But after his final attainment of Nibbana, it is proper to take it from anyone of 
the eighty great disciples still living. When they are no more available, one who 
wants to take a particular meditation subject should take it from someone with 
cankers destroyed, who has, by means of that particular meditation subject, 
produced the fourfold and fivefold jhana, and has reached the destruction of cankers 
by augmenting insight that had that jhana as its proximate cause. 

63. But how then, does someone with cankers destroyed declare himself thus: "I am 
one whose cankers are destroyed?" Why not? He declares himself when he knows 
that his instructions will be carried out. Did not the Elder Assagutta [99] spread out 
his leather mat in the air and sitting cross-legged on it explain a meditation subject to 
a bhikkhu who was starting his meditation subject, because he knew that that bhikkhu 
was one who would carry out his instructions for the meditation subject? 

64. So if someone with cankers destroyed is available, that is good. If not, then 
one should take it from a non-returner, a once-returner, a stream-enterer, an 
ordinary man who has obtained jhana, one who knows three Pitakas, one who 
knows two Pitakas, one who knows one Pitaka, in descending order [according as 
available]. If not even one who knows one Pitaka is available, then it should be 
taken from one who is familiar with one Collection together with its commentary 
and one who is himself conscientious. For a teacher such as this, who knows the 
texts, guards the heritage, and protects the tradition, will follow the teachers' 
opinion rather than his own. Hence the Ancient Elders said three times, "One who 
is conscientious will guard it." 

17. Atthayitabba — "needed": not in PED, not in CPD. 

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65. Now, those beginning with one whose cankers are destroyed, mentioned above, 
will describe only the path they have themselves reached. But with a learned man, 
his instructions and his answers to questions are purified by his having approached 
such and such teachers, and so he will explain a meditation subject showing a 
broad track, like a big elephant going through a stretch of jungle, and he will select 
suttas and reasons from here and there, adding [explanations of] what is suitable 
and unsuitable. So a meditation subject should be taken by approaching the good 
friend such as this, the giver of a meditation subject, and by doing all the duties to 
him. 

66. If he is available in the same monastery, it is good. If not, one should go to 
where he lives. 

When [a bhikkhu] goes to him, he should not do so with feet washed and 
anointed, wearing sandals, with an umbrella, surrounded by pupils, and bringing 
oil tube, honey, molasses, etc.; he should do so fulfilling the duties of a bhikkhu 
setting out on a journey, carrying his bowl and robes himself, doing all the duties 
in each monastery on the way, with few belongings, and living in the greatest 
effacement. When entering that monastery, he should do so [expecting nothing, 
and even provided] with a tooth-stick that he has had made allowable on the way 
[according to the rules]. And he should not enter some other room, thinking, "I 
shall go to the teacher after resting awhile and after washing and anointing my 
feet, and so on." 

67. Why? If there are bhikkhus there who are hostile to the teacher, they might 
ask him the reason for his coming and speak dispraise of the teacher, saying, "You 
are done for if you go to him"; [100] they might make him regret his coming and 
turn him back. So he should ask for the teacher's dwelling and go straight there. 

68. If the teacher is junior, he should not consent to the teacher's receiving his 
bowl and robe, and so on. If the teacher is senior, then he should go and pay homage 
to him and remain standing. When told, "Put down the bowl and robe, friend," he 
may put them down. When told, "Have some water to drink," he can drink if he 
wants to. When told, "You may wash your feet," he should not do so at once, for if 
the water has been brought by the teacher himself, it would be improper. But when 
told "Wash, friend, it was not brought by me, it was brought by others," then he 
can wash his feet, sitting in a screened place out of sight of the teacher, or in the 
open to one side of the dwelling. 

69. If the teacher brings an oil tube, he should get up and take it carefully with 
both hands. If he did not take it, it might make the teacher wonder, "Does this 
bhikkhu resent sharing so soon?" but having taken it, he should not anoint his feet 
at once. For if it were oil for anointing the teacher's limbs, it would not be proper. 
So he should first anoint his head, then his shoulders, etc.; but when told, "This is 
meant for all the limbs, friend, anoint your feet," he should put a little on his head 
and then anoint his feet. Then he should give it back, saying when the teacher 
takes it, "May I return this oil tube, venerable sir?" 

70. He should not say, "Explain a meditation subject to me, venerable sir" on the 
very day he arrives. But starting from the next day, he can, if the teacher has a 

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habitual attendant, ask his permission to do the duties. If he does not allow it 
when asked, they can be done when the opportunity offers. When he does them, 
three tooth-sticks should be brought, a small, a medium and a big one, and two 
kinds of mouth-washing water and bathing water, that is, hot and cold, should be 
set out. Whichever of these the teacher uses for three days should then be brought 
regularly. If the teacher uses either kind indiscriminately, he can bring whatever is 
available. 

71 . Why so many words? All should be done as prescribed by the Blessed One in 
the Khandhakas as the right duties in the passage beginning: "Bhikkhus, a pupil 
should perform the duties to the teacher [101] rightly. Herein, this is the right 
performance of duties. He should rise early; removing his sandals and arranging 
his robe on one shoulder, he should give the tooth-sticks and the mouth-washing 
water, and he should prepare the seat. If there is rice gruel, he should wash the 
dish and bring the rice gruel" (Vin I 61). 

72. To please the teacher by perfection in the duties he should pay homage in the 
evening, and he should leave when dismissed with the words, "You may go." When 
the teacher asks him, "Why have you come?" he can explain the reason for his 
coming. If he does not ask but agrees to the duties being done, then after ten days 
or a fortnight have gone by he should make an opportunity by staying back one 
day at the time of his dismissal, and announcing the reason for his coming; or he 
should go at an unaccustomed time, and when asked, "What have you come for?" 
he can announce it. 

73. If the teacher says, "Come in the morning," he should do so. But if his stomach 
burns with a bile affliction at that hour, or if his food does not get digested owing 
to sluggish digestive heat, or if some other ailment afflicts him, he should let it be 
known, and proposing a time that suits himself, he should come at that time. For if 
a meditation subject is expounded at an inconvenient time, one cannot give attention. 

This is the detailed explanation of the words "approach the good friend, the 
giver of a meditation subject." 

74. Now, as to the words, one that suits his temperament (§28): there are six kinds of 
temperament, that is, greedy temperament, hating temperament, deluded 
temperament, faithful temperament, intelligent temperament, and speculative 
temperament. Some would have fourteen, taking these six single ones together 
with the four made up of the three double combinations and one triple combination 
with the greed triad and likewise with the faith triad. But if this classification is 
admitted, there are many more kinds of temperament possible by combining greed, 
etc., with faith, etc.; therefore the kinds of temperament should be understood 
briefly as only six. As to meaning the temperaments are one, that is to say, personal 
nature, idiosyncrasy. According to [102] these there are only six types of persons, 
that is, one of greedy temperament, one of hating temperament, one of deluded 
temperament, one of faithful temperament, one of intelligent temperament, and 
one of speculative temperament. 

75. Herein, one of faithful temperament is parallel to one of greedy temperament 
because faith is strong when profitable [kamma] occurs in one of greedy 

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temperament, owing to its special qualities being near to those of greed. For, in an 
unprofitable way, greed is affectionate and not over-austere, and so, in a profitable 
way, is faith. Greed seeks out sense desires as object, while faith seeks out the 
special qualities of virtue and so on. And greed does not give up what is harmful, 
while faith does not give up what is beneficial. 

76. One of intelligent temperament is parallel to one of hating temperament 
because understanding is strong when profitable [kamma] occurs in one of hating 
temperament, owing to its special qualities being near to those of hate. For, in an 
unprofitable way, hate is disaffected and does not hold to its object, and so, in a 
profitable way, is understanding. Hate seeks out only unreal faults, while 
understanding seeks out only real faults. And hate occurs in the mode of 
condemning living beings, while understanding occurs in the mode of condemning 
formations. 

77. One of speculative temperament is parallel to one of deluded temperament 
because obstructive applied thoughts arise often in one of deluded temperament 
who is striving to arouse unarisen profitable states, owing to their special qualities 
being near to those of delusion. For just as delusion is restless owing to perplexity, 
so are applied thoughts that are due to thinking over various aspects. And just as 
delusion vacillates owing to superficiality, so do applied thoughts that are due to 
facile conjecturing. 

78. Others say that there are three more kinds of temperament with craving, pride, 
and views. Herein craving is simply greed; and pride 18 is associated with that, so 
neither of them exceeds greed. And since views have their source in delusion, the 
temperament of views falls within the deluded temperament. 

79. What is the source of these temperaments? And how is it to be known that 
such a person is of greedy temperament, that such a person is of one of those 
beginning with hating temperament? What suits one of what kind of temperament? 

80. Herein, as some say 19 the first three kinds of temperament to begin with have 
their source in previous habit; and they have their source in elements and humours. 
Apparently one of greedy temperament has formerly had plenty of desirable tasks 
and gratifying work to do, or has reappeared here after dying in a heaven. And one 

18. Mana, usually rendered by "pride," is rendered here both by "pride" and "conceit." 
Etymologically it is derived perhaps from maneti (to honour) or minati (to measure). In 
sense, however, it tends to become associated with mannati, to conceive (false notions, 
see M 1 1), to imagine, to think (as e.g. at Nidd I 80, Vibh 390 and corny.). As one of the 
"defilements" (see M I 36) it is probably best rendered by "pride." In the expression 
asmi-mana (often rendered by "the pride that says 'I am'") it more nearly approaches 
mannana (false imagining, misconception, see M III 246) and is better rendered by the 
"conceit 'I am,'" since the word "conceit" straddles both the meanings of "pride" (i.e. 
haughtiness) and "conception." 

19. "'Some' is said with reference to the Elder Upatissa. For it is put in this way by 
him in the Vimiittimagga. The word 'apparently' indicates dissent from what follows" 
(Vism-mht 103). A similar passage to that referred to appears in Ch. 6 (Taisho ed. p. 410a) 
of the Chinese version of the Vimiittimagga, the only one extant. 

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of hating temperament has formerly had plenty of stabbing and torturing and 
brutal work to do or has reappeared here after dying in one of the hells or the naga 
(serpent) existences. And one [103] of deluded temperament has formerly drunk a 
lot of intoxicants and neglected learning and questioning, or has reappeared here 
after dying in the animal existence. It is in this way that they have their source in 
previous habit, they say. 

81. Then a person is of deluded temperament because two elements are 
prominent, that is to say, the earth element and the water element. He is of hating 
temperament because the other two elements are prominent. But he is of greedy 
temperament because all four are equal. And as regards the humours, one of greedy 
temperament has phlegm in excess and one of deluded temperament has wind in 
excess. Or one of deluded temperament has phlegm in excess and one of greedy 
temperament has wind in excess. So they have their source in the elements and the 
humours, they say. 

82. [Now, it can rightly be objected that] not all of those who have had plenty of 
desirable tasks and gratifying work to do, and who have reappeared here after 
dying in a heaven, are of greedy temperament, or the others respectively of hating 
and deluded temperament; and there is no such law of prominence of elements 
(see XIV43f.) as that asserted; and only the pair, greed and delusion, are given in 
the law of humours, and even that subsequently contradicts itself; and no source 
for even one among those beginning with one of faithful temperament is given. 
Consequently this definition is indecisive. 

83. The following is the exposition according to the opinion of the teachers of the 
commentaries; or this is said in the "explanation of prominence": "The fact that 
these beings have prominence of greed, prominence of hate, prominence of delusion, 
is governed by previous root-cause. 

"For when in one man, at the moment of his accumulating [rebirth-producing] 
kamma, greed is strong and non-greed is weak, non-hate and non-delusion are 
strong and hate and delusion are weak, then his weak non-greed is unable to prevail 
over his greed, but his non-hate and non-delusion being strong are able to prevail 
over his hate and delusion. That is why, on being reborn through rebirth-linking 
given by that kamma, he has greed, is good-natured and unangry and possesses 
understanding with knowledge like a lightning flash. 

84. "When, at the moment of another's accumulating kamma, greed and hate are 
strong and non-greed and non-hate weak, and non-delusion is strong and delusion 
weak, then in the way already stated he has both greed and hate but possesses 
understanding with knowledge like a lightning flash, like the Elder Datta-Abhaya. 

"When, at the moment of his accumulating kamma, greed, non-hate and delusion 
are strong and the others are weak, then in the way already stated he both has 
greed and is dull but is good-tempered 20 and unangry, like the Elder Bahula. 



20. Silaka — "good-tempered" — sukhaslla (good-natured — see §83), which = sakhila 
(kindly— Vism-mht 104). Not in PED. 

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"Likewise when, at the moment of his accumulating kamma, the three, namely, 
greed, hate and delusion are strong and non-greed, etc., are weak, then in the way 
already stated he has both greed and hate and is deluded. [104] 

85. "When, at the moment of his accumulating kamma, non-greed, hate and 
delusion are strong and the others are weak, then in the way already stated he has 
little defilement and is unshakable even on seeing a heavenly object, but he has 
hate and is slow in understanding. 

"When, at the moment of his accumulating kamma, non-greed, non-hate and 
non-delusion are strong and the rest weak, then in the way already stated he has 
no greed and no hate, and is good-tempered but slow in understanding. 

"Likewise when, at the moment of his accumulating kamma, non-greed, hate 
and non-delusion are strong and the rest weak, then in the way already stated he 
both has no greed and possesses understanding but has hate and is irascible. 

"Likewise when, at the moment of his accumulating kamma, the three, that is, 
non-hate, non-greed, and non-delusion, are strong and greed, etc., are weak, then 
in the way already stated he has no greed and no hate and possesses understanding, 
like the Elder Maha-Sahgharakkhita." 

86. One who, as it is said here, "has greed" is one of greedy temperament; one 
who "has hate" and one who "is dull" are respectively of hating temperament and 
deluded temperament. One who "possesses understanding" is one of intelligent 
temperament. One who "has no greed" and one who "has no hate" are of faithful 
temperament because they are naturally trustful. Or just as one who is reborn 
through kamma accompanied by non-delusion is of intelligent temperament, so 
one who is reborn through kamma accompanied by strong faith is of faithful 
temperament, one who is reborn through kamma accompanied by thoughts of 
sense desire is of speculative temperament, and one who is reborn through kamma 
accompanied by mixed greed, etc., is of mixed temperament. So it is the kamma 
productive of rebirth-linking and accompanied by someone among the things 
beginning with greed that should be understood as the source of the temperaments. 

87. But it was asked, and how is it to be known that "This person is of greedy 
temperament?" (§79), and so on. This is explained as follows: 

By the posture, by the action, 
By eating, seeing, and so on, 
By the kind of states occurring, 
May temperament be recognized. 

88. Herein, by the posture: when one of greedy temperament is walking in his 
usual manner, he walks carefully, puts his foot down slowly, puts it down evenly, 
lifts it up evenly, and his step is springy 21 

One of hating temperament walks as though he were digging with the points of his 
feet, puts his foot down quickly, lifts it up quickly and his step is dragged along. 

21. Ukkutika — "springy" is glossed here by asamphutthamajjham ("not touching in the 
middle" — Vism-mht 106). This meaning is not in PED. 

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One of deluded temperament walks with a perplexed gait, puts his foot down hesitantly 
lifts it up hesitantly [105] and his step is pressed down suddenly 

And this is said in the account of the origin of the Magandiya Sutta: 

The step of one of greedy nature will be springy; 
The step of one of hating nature, dragged along; 
Deluded, he will suddenly press down his step; 
And one without defilement has a step like this. 22 

89. The stance of one of greedy temperament is confident and graceful. That of one 
of hating temperament is rigid. That of one of deluded temperament is muddled, 
likewise in sitting. And one of greedy temperament spreads his bed unhurriedly, lies 
down slowly, composing his limbs, and he sleeps in a confident manner. When woken, 
instead of getting up quickly, he gives his answer slowly as though doubtful. One of 
hating temperament spreads his bed hastily anyhow; with his body flung down he 
sleeps with a scowl. When woken, he gets up quickly and answers as though annoyed. 
One of deluded temperament spreads his bed all awry and sleeps mostly face 
downwards with his body sprawling. When woken, he gets up slowly saying, "Hum." 

90. Since those of faithful temperament, etc., are parallel to those of greedy 
temperament, etc., their postures are therefore like those described above. 

This firstly is how the temperaments may be recognized by the posture. 

91. By the action: also in the acts of sweeping, etc., one of greedy temperament 
grasps the broom well, and he sweeps cleanly and evenly without hurrying or 
scattering the sand, as if he were strewing sinduvara flowers. One of hating 
temperament grasps the broom tightly, and he sweeps uncleanly and unevenly 
with a harsh noise, hurriedly throwing up the sand on each side. One of deluded 
temperament grasps the broom loosely, and he sweeps neither cleanly nor evenly, 
mixing the sand up and turning it over. 

92. As with sweeping, so too with any action such as washing and dyeing robes, 
and so on. One of greedy temperament acts skilfully, gently, evenly and carefully. 
One of hating temperament acts tensely, stiffly and unevenly. One of deluded 
temperament acts unskilfully as if muddled, unevenly and indecisively. [106] 

Also one of greedy temperament wears his robe neither too tightly nor too 
loosely, confidently and level all round. One of hating temperament wears it too 
tight and not level all round. One of deluded temperament wears it loosely and in 
a muddled way. 

Those of faithful temperament, etc., should be understood in the same way as 
those just described, since they are parallel. 

This is how the temperaments may be recognized by the actions. 

93. By eating: One of greedy temperament likes eating rich sweet food. When 
eating, he makes a round lump not too big and eats unhurriedly, savouring the 
various tastes. He enjoys getting something good. One of hating temperament likes 
eating rough sour food. When eating he makes a lump that fills his mouth, and he 

22. See Sn-a 544, A-a 436. 

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eats hurriedly without savouring the taste. He is aggrieved when he gets something 
not good. One of deluded temperament has no settled choice. When eating, he 
makes a small un-rounded lump, and as he eats he drops bits into his dish, smearing 
his face, with his mind astray, thinking of this and that. 

Also those of faithful temperament, etc., should be understood in the same way 
as those just described since they are parallel. 

This is how the temperament may be recognized by eating. 

94. And by seeing and so on: when one of greedy temperament sees even a slightly 
pleasing visible object, he looks long as if surprised, he seizes on trivial virtues, 
discounts genuine faults, and when departing, he does so with regret as if unwilling 
to leave. When one of hating temperament sees even a slightly unpleasing visible 
object, he avoids looking long as if he were tired, he picks out trivial faults, discounts 
genuine virtues, and when departing, he does so without regret as if anxious to 
leave. When one of deluded temperament sees any sort of visible object, he copies 
what others do: if he hears others criticizing, he criticizes; if he hears others praising, 
he praises; but actually he feels equanimity in himself — the equanimity of 
unknowing. So too with sounds, and so on. 

And those of faithful temperament, etc., should be understood in the same way 
as those just described since they are parallel. 

This is how the temperaments may be recognized by seeing and so on. 

95. By the kind of states occurring: in one of greedy temperament there is frequent 
occurrence of such states as deceit, fraud, pride, evilness of wishes, greatness of 
wishes, discontent, foppery and personal vanity 23 [107] In one of hating 
temperament there is frequent occurrence of such states as anger, enmity, 
disparaging, domineering, envy and avarice. In one of deluded temperament there 
is frequent occurrence of such states as stiffness, torpor, agitation, worry, uncertainty, 
and holding on tenaciously with refusal to relinquish. 



23. Singa — "foppery" is not in PED in this sense. See Vibh 351 and commentary. 

Capalya (capalla) — "personal vanity": noun from adj. capala. The word "capala" comes 
in an often-repeated passage: "satha mayavino ketubhino uddhata unnala capala mukhara 
..."(MI 32); cf. S I 203; A III 199, etc.) and also M I 470 "uddhato hoti capalo," with two 
lines lower "uddhaccam capalyam. " Capalya also occurs at Vibh 351 (and M II 167). At M- 
a 1 152 (commenting on M 1 32) we find: capala ti pattacwaramandanadina capallena yutta 
("interested in personal vanity consisting in adorning bowl and robe and so on"), and 
at M-a III 185 (commenting on M 1 470): Uddhato hoti capalo ti uddhaccapakatiko c'eva hoti 
clvaramandana pattamandana senasanamandana imassa va putikayassa kelayanamandana ti 
evarn vuttena tarunadarakacapallena samannagato ("'he is distracted — or puffed up — and 
personally vain': he is possessed of the callow youth's personal vanity described as 
adorning the robe, adorning the bowl, adorning the lodging, or prizing and adorning 
this filthy body"). This meaning is confirmed in the commentary to Vibh 251. PED 
does not give this meaning at all but only "fickle," which is unsupported by the 
commentary CPD (acapala) also does not give this meaning. 

As to the other things listed here in the Visuddhimagga text, most will be found at M 
I 36. For "holding on tenaciously," etc., see M I 43. 

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In one of faithful temperament there is frequent occurrence of such states as 
free generosity, desire to see Noble Ones, desire to hear the Good Dhamma, great 
gladness, ingenuousness, honesty, and trust in things that inspire trust. In one of 
intelligent temperament there is frequent occurrence of such states as readiness to 
be spoken to, possession of good friends, knowledge of the right amount in eating, 
mindfulness and full awareness, devotion to wakefulness, a sense of urgency about 
things that should inspire a sense of urgency, and wisely directed endeavour. In 
one of speculative temperament there is frequent occurrence of such states as 
talkativeness, sociability, boredom with devotion to the profitable, failure to finish 
undertakings, smoking by night and flaming by day (see M I 144 — that is to say, 
hatching plans at night and putting them into effect by day), and mental running 
hither and thither (see Ud 37). 

This is how the temperaments may be recognized by the kind of states occurring. 

96 . However, these directions for recognizing the temperaments have not been handed 
down in their entirety in either the texts or the commentaries; they are only expressed 
according to the opinion of the teachers and cannot therefore be treated as authentic. 
For even those of hating temperament can exhibit postures, etc., ascribed to the greedy 
temperament when they try diligently. And postures, etc., never arise with distinct 
characteristics in a person of mixed temperament. Only such directions for recognizing 
temperament as are given in the commentaries should be treated as authentic; for this 
is said: "A teacher who has acquired penetration of minds will know the temperament 
and will explain a meditation subject accordingly; one who has not should question 
the pupil." So it is by penetration of minds or by questioning the person, that it can be 
known whether he is one of greedy temperament or one of those beginning with 
hating temperament. 

97. What suits one of what kind of temperament? (§79). A suitable lodging for one of 
greedy temperament has an unwashed sill and stands level with the ground, and 
it can be either an overhanging [rock with an] unprepared [drip-ledge] (see Ch. II, 
note 15), a grass hut, or a leaf house, etc. It ought to be spattered with dirt, full of 
bats, 24 dilapidated, too high or too low, in bleak surroundings, threatened [by lions, 
tigers, etc.,] with a muddy, uneven path, [108] where even the bed and chair are full 
of bugs. And it should be ugly and unsightly, exciting loathing as soon as looked 
at. Suitable inner and outer garments are those that have torn-off edges with threads 
hanging down all round like a "net cake," 25 harsh to the touch like hemp, soiled, 
heavy and hard to wear. And the right kind of bowl for him is an ugly clay bowl 
disfigured by stoppings and joints, or a heavy and misshapen iron bowl as 
unappetizing as a skull. The right kind of road for him on which to wander for 
alms is disagreeable, with no village near, and uneven. The right kind of village for 
him in which to wander for alms is where people wander about as if oblivious of 
him, where, as he is about to leave without getting alms even from a single family, 
people call him into the sitting hall, saying, "Come, venerable sir," and give him 

24. }atuka—"a bat": not in PED. Also at Ch. XI. §7. 

25. Jalapuvasadisa — "like a net cake": "A cake made like a net" (Vism-mht 108); possibly 
what is now known in Sri Lanka as a "string hopper," or something like it. 

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gruel and rice, but do so as casually as if they were putting a cow in a pen. Suitable 
people to serve him are slaves or workmen who are unsightly ill-favoured, with 
dirty clothes, ill-smelling and disgusting, who serve him his gruel and rice as if 
they were throwing it rudely at him. The right kind of gruel and rice and hard 
food is poor, unsightly, made up of millet, kudusaka, broken rice, etc., stale buttermilk, 
sour gruel, curry of old vegetables, or anything at all that is merely for filling the 
stomach. The right kind of posture for him is either standing or walking. The object 
of his contemplation should be any of the colour kasinas, beginning with the blue, 
whose colour is not pure. This is what suits one of greedy temperament. 

98. A suitable resting place for one of hating temperament is not too high or too 
low, provided with shade and water, with well-proportioned walls, posts and steps, 
with well-prepared frieze work and lattice work, brightened with various kinds of 
painting, with an even, smooth, soft floor, adorned with festoons of flowers and a 
canopy of many-coloured cloth like a Brahma-god's divine palace, with bed and 
chair covered with well-spread clean pretty covers, smelling sweetly of flowers, 
and perfumes and scents set about for homely comfort, which makes one happy 
and glad at the mere sight of it. 

99. The right kind of road to his lodging is free from any sort of danger, traverses 
clean, even ground, and has been properly prepared. [109] And here it is best that 
the lodging's furnishings are not too many in order to avoid hiding-places for 
insects, bugs, snakes and rats: even a single bed and chair only. The right kind of 
inner and outer garments for him are of any superior stuff such as China cloth, 
Somara cloth, silk, fine cotton, fine linen, of either single or double thickness, quite 
light, and well dyed, quite pure in colour to befit an ascetic. The right kind of bowl 
is made of iron, as well shaped as a water bubble, as polished as a gem, spotless, 
and of quite pure colour to befit an ascetic. The right kind of road on which to 
wander for alms is free from dangers, level, agreeable, with the village neither too 
far nor too near. The right kind of village in which to wander for alms is where 
people, thinking, "Now our lord is coming," prepare a seat in a sprinkled, swept 
place, and going out to meet him, take his bowl, lead him to the house, seat him on 
a prepared seat and serve him carefully with their own hands. 

100. Suitable people to serve him are handsome, pleasing, well bathed, well 
anointed, scented 26 with the perfume of incense and the smell of flowers, adorned 
with apparel made of variously-dyed clean pretty cloth, who do their work carefully. 
The right kind of gruel, rice, and hard food has colour, smell and taste, possesses 
nutritive essence, and is inviting, superior in every way, and enough for his wants. 
The right kind of posture for him is lying down or sitting. The object of his 
contemplation should be anyone of the colour kasinas, beginning with the blue, 
whose colour is quite pure. This is what suits one of hating temperament. 

101. The right lodging for one of deluded temperament has a view and is not shut 
in, where the four quarters are visible to him as he sits there. As to the postures, walking 
is right. The right kind of object for his contemplation is not small, that is to say, the 
size of a winnowing basket or the size of a saucer; for his mind becomes more confused 

26. Surabhi — "scented, perfume": not in PED; also at VI.90; X.60 and Vism-mht 445. 

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in a confined space; so the right kind is an amply large kasina. The rest is as stated for 
one of hating temperament. This is what suits one of deluded temperament. 

102. For one of faithful temperament all the directions given for one of hating 
temperament are suitable. As to the object of his contemplation, one of the 
recollections is right as well. 

For one of intelligent temperament there is nothing unsuitable as far as concerns 
the lodging and so on. 

For one of speculative temperament an open lodging with a view, [110] where 
gardens, groves and ponds, pleasant prospects, panoramas of villages, towns and 
countryside, and the blue gleam of mountains, are visible to him as he sits there, is 
not right; for that is a condition for the running hither and thither of applied thought. 
So he should live in a lodging such as a deep cavern screened by woods like the 
Overhanging Rock of the Elephant's Belly (Hatthikucchipabbhara), or Mahinda's 
Cave. Also an ample-sized object of contemplation is not suitable for him; for one 
like that is a condition for the running hither and thither of applied thought. A 
small one is right. The rest is as stated for one of greedy temperament. This is what 
suits one of speculative temperament. 

These are the details, with definition of the kind, source, recognition, and what 
is suitable, as regards the various temperaments handed down here with the words 
"that suits his own temperament" (§60). 

103. However, the meditation subject that is suitable to the temperament has not 
been cleared up in all its aspects yet. This will become clear automatically when 
those in the following list are treated in detail. 

Now, it was said above, "and he should apprehend from among the forty 
meditation subjects one that suits his own temperament" (§60). Here the exposition 
of the meditation subject should be first understood in these ten ways: (1) as to 
enumeration, (2) as to which bring only access and which absorption, (3) at to the 
kinds of jhana, (4) as to surmounting, (5) as to extension and non-extension, (6) as 
to object, (7) as to plane, (8) as to apprehending, (9) as to condition, (10) as to 
suitability to temperament. 

104. 1. Herein, as to enumeration: it was said above, "from among the forty 
meditation subjects" (§28). Herein, the forty meditation subjects are these: 

ten kasinas (totalities), 
ten kinds of foulness, 
ten recollections, 
four divine abidings, 
four immaterial states, 
one perception, 
one defining. 

105. Herein, the ten kasinas are these: earth kasina, water kasina, fire kasina, air 
kasina, blue kasina, yellow kasina, red kasina, white kasina, light kasina, and 
limited-space kasina. 27 

27. "'Kasina' is in the sense of entirety (sakalatthena)" (M-a III 260). See IV119. 

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The ten kinds of foulness are these: the bloated, the livid, the festering, the cut- 
up, the gnawed, the scattered, the hacked and scattered, the bleeding, the worm- 
infested, and a skeleton. 28 

The ten kinds of recollection are these: recollection of the Buddha (the 
Enlightened One), recollection of the Dhamma (the Law), recollection of the Sangha 
(the Community), recollection of virtue, recollection of generosity, recollection of 
deities, recollection (or mindfulness) of death, mindfulness occupied with the body, 
mindfulness of breathing, and recollection of peace. [Ill] 

The four divine abidings are these: loving-kindness, compassion, gladness, and 
equanimity. 

The four immaterial states are these: the base consisting of boundless space, the 
base consisting of boundless consciousness, the base consisting of nothingness, 
and the base consisting of neither perception nor non-perception. 

The one perception is the perception of repulsiveness in nutriment. 

The one defining is the defining of the four elements. 

This is how the exposition should be understood "as to enumeration." 

106. 2 As to which bring access only and which absorption: the eight recollections — 
excepting mindfulness occupied with the body and mindfulness of breathing — 
the perception of repulsiveness in nutriment, and the defining of the four elements, 
are ten meditation subjects that bring access only. The others bring absorption. 
This is "as to which bring access only and which absorption." 

107. 3. As to the kind ofjhana: among those that bring absorption, the ten kasinas 
together with mindfulness of breathing bring all four jhanas. The ten kinds of 
foulness together with mindfulness occupied with the body bring the first jhana. 



28. Here ten kinds of foulness are given. But in the Suttas only either five or six of this 
set appear to be mentioned, that is, "Perception of a skeleton, perception of the worm- 
infested, perception of the livid, perception of the cut-up, perception of the bloated, 
(see A I 42 and S V 131; A II 17 adds "perception of the festering")" No details are 
given. All ten appear at Dhs 263-64 and Patis I 49. It will be noted that no order of 
progress of decay in the kinds of corpse appears here; also the instructions in Ch. VI 
are for contemplating actual corpses in these states. The primary purpose here is to 
cultivate "repulsiveness." 

Another set of nine progressive stages in the decay of a corpse, mostly different 
from these, is given at M I 58, 89, etc., beginning with a corpse one day old and ending 
with bones turned to dust. From the words "suppose a bhikkhu saw a corpse thrown 
on a charnel ground ... he compares this same body of his with it thus, 'This body too 
is of like nature, awaits a like fate, is not exempt from that'"(M I 58), it can be assumed 
that these nine, which are given in progressive order of decay in order to demonstrate 
the body's impermanence, are not necessarily intended as contemplations of actual 
corpses so much as mental images to be created, the primary purpose being to cultivate 
impermanence. This may be why these nine are not used here (see VIII.43). 

The word asubha (foul, foulness) is used both of the contemplations of corpses as 
here and of the contemplation of the parts of the body (A V 109). 

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The first three divine abidings bring three jhanas. The fourth divine abiding and 
the four immaterial states bring the fourth jhana. This is "as to the kind of jhana." 

108. 4. As to surmounting: there are two kinds of surmounting, that is to say, 
surmounting of factors and surmounting of object. Herein, there is surmounting 
of factors in the case of all meditation subjects that bring three and four jhanas 
because the second jhana, etc., have to be reached in those same objects by 
surmounting the jhana factors of applied thought and sustained thought, and so 
on. Likewise in the case of the fourth divine abiding; for that has to be reached by 
surmounting joy in the same object as that of loving-kindness, and so on. But in 
the case of the four immaterial states there is surmounting of the object; for the 
base consisting of boundless space has to be reached by surmounting one or other 
of the first nine kasinas, and the base consisting of boundless consciousness, etc., 
have respectively to be reached by surmounting space, and so on. With the rest 
there is no surmounting. This is "as to surmounting." 

109. 5. As to extension and non-extension: only the ten kasinas among these forty 
meditation subjects need be extended. For it is within just so much space as one is 
intent upon with the kasina that one can hear sounds with the divine ear element, 
see visible objects with the divine eye, and know the minds of other beings with 
the mind. 

110. Mindfulness occupied with the body and the ten kinds of foulness need not be 
extended. Why? Because they have a definite location and because there is no benefit 
in it. The definiteness of their location will become clear in explaining the method of 
development (VIII.83-138 and VI.40, 41, 79). If the latter are extended, it is only a 
quantity of corpses that is extended [112] and there is no benefit. And this is said in 
answer to the question of Sopaka: "Perception of visible forms is quite clear, Blessed 
One, perception of bones is not clear" (Source untraced 29 ); for here the perception of 
visible forms is called "quite clear" in the sense of extension of the sign, while the 
perception of bones is called "not quite clear" in the sense of its non-extension. 

111. But the words "I was intent upon this whole earth with the perception of a 
skeleton" (Th 18) are said of the manner of appearance to one who has acquired 
that perception. For just as in [the Emperor] Dhammasoka's time the Karavlka bird 
uttered a sweet song when it saw its own reflection in the looking glass walls all 
round and perceived Karavlkas in every direction, 30 so the Elder [Sihgala Pitar] 

29. Also quoted in A-a V 79 on AN 11:9. Cf. Sn 1119. A similar quotation with Sopaka 
is found in Vism-mht 334-35, see note 1 to XI.2. 

30. The full story which occurs at M-a III 382-83 and elsewhere, is this: "It seems that 
when the Karavlka bird has pecked a sweet-flavoured mango wth its beak and savoured 
the dripping juice, and flapping its wings, begins to sing, then quadrupeds caper as if 
mad. Quadrupeds grazing in their pastures drop the grass in their mouths and listen 
to the sound. Beasts of prey hunting small animals pause with one foot raised. Hunted 
animals lose their fear of death and halt in their tracks. Birds flying in the air stay with 
wings outstretched. Fishes in the water keep still, not moving their fins. All listen to 
the sound, so beautiful is the Karavlka's song. Dhammasoka's queen Asandhamitta 
asked the Community: 'Venerable sirs, is there anything that sounds like the Buddha?' — 
'The Karavlka birds does.' — 'Where are those birds, venerable sirs?' — 'In the Himalaya.' 

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thought, when he saw the sign appearing in all directions through his acquisition 
of the perception of a skeleton, that the whole earth was covered with bones. 

112. If that is so, then is what is called "the measurelessness of the object of jhana 
produced on foulness" 31 contradicted? It is not contradicted. For one man 
apprehends the sign in a large bloated corpse or skeleton, another in a small one. 
In this way the jhana of the one has a limited object and of the other a measureless 
object. Or alternatively, "With a measureless object" (Dhs 182-84 in elision) is said 
of it referring to one who extends it, seeing no disadvantage in doing so. But it 
need not be extended because no benefit results. 

113. The rest need not be extended likewise. Why? When a man extends the sign 
of in-breaths and out-breaths, only a quantity of wind is extended, and it has a 
definite location, [the nose-tip]. So it need not be extended because of the 
disadvantage and because of the definiteness of the location. And the divine 
abidings have living beings as their object. When a man extends the sign of these, 
only the quantity of living beings would be extended, and there is no purpose in 
that. So that also need not be extended. 

114. When it is said, "Intent upon one quarter with his heart endued with loving- 
kindness" (D 1 250), etc., that is said for the sake of comprehensive inclusion. For it 
is when a man develops it progressively by including living beings in one direction 
by one house, by two houses, etc., that he is said to be "intent upon one direction," 
[113] not when he extends the sign. And there is no counterpart sign here that he 
might extend. Also the state of having a limited or measureless object can be 
understood here according to the way of inclusion, too. 

115. As regards the immaterial states as object, space need not be extended since 
it is the mere removal of the kasina [materiality]; for that should be brought to 
mind only as the disappearance of the kasina [materiality]; if he extends it, nothing 
further happens. And consciousness need not be extended since it is a state 
consisting in an individual essence, and it is not possible to extend a state consisting 
in an individual essence. The disappearance of consciousness need not be extended 
since it is mere non-existence of consciousness. And the base consisting of neither 

She told the king: 'Sire, I wish to hear a Karavika bird.' The king dispatched a gold 
cage with the order, 'Let a Karavika bird come and sit in this cage.' The cage travelled 
and halted in front of a Karavika. Thinking, 'The cage has come at the king's command; 
it is impossible not to go,' the bird got in. The cage returned and stopped before the 
king. They could not get the Karavika to utter a sound. When the king asked, 'When 
do they utter a sound?' they replied, 'On seeing their kin.' Then the king had it 
surrounded with looking-glasses. Seeing its own reflection and imagining that its 
relatives had come, it flapped its wings and cried out with an exquisite voice as if 
sounding a crystal trumpet. All the people in the city rushed about as if mad. 
Asandhamitta thought: 'If the sound of this creature is so fine, what indeed can the 
sound of the Blessed One have been like since he had reached the glory of omniscient 
knowledge?' and arousing a happiness that she never again relinquished, she became 
established in the fruition of stream-entry." 

31 . See Dhs 55; but it comes under the "... pe ... ," which must be filled in from pp. 37- 
38, §182 and §184. 



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perception nor non-perception as object need not be extended since it too is a state 
consisting in an individual essence. 32 

116. The rest need not be extended because they have no sign. For it is the 
counterpart sign 33 that would be extendable, and the object of the recollection of 
the Buddha, etc., is not a counterpart sign. Consequently there is no need for 
extension there. 

This is "as to extension and non-extension." 

117. 6. As to object: of these forty meditation subjects, twenty-two have counterpart 
signs as object, that is to say, the ten kasinas, the ten kinds of foulness, mindfulness of 
breathing, and mindfulness occupied with the body; the rest do not have counterpart 
signs as object. Then twelve have states consisting in individual essences as object, that 
is to say, eight of the ten recollections — except mindfulness of breathing and mindfulness 
occupied with the body — the perception of repulsiveness in nutriment, the defining 
of the elements, the base consisting of boundless consciousness, and the base consisting 
of neither perception nor non-perception; and twenty-two have [counterpart] signs as 
object, that is to say, the ten kasinas, the ten kinds of foulness, mindfulness of breathing, 
and mindfulness occupied with the body; while the remaining six have "not-so- 
classifiable" 34 objects. Then eight have mobile objects in the early stage though the 
counterpart is stationary, that is to say, the festering, the bleeding, the worm-infested, 
mindfulness of breathing, the water kasina, the fire kasina, the air kasina, and in the 
case of the light kasina the object consisting of a circle of sunlight, etc.; the rest have 
immobile objects. 35 This is "as to object." 

118. 7. As to plane: here the twelve, namely, the ten kinds of foulness, mindfulness 
occupied with the body, and perception of repulsiveness in nutriment, do not occur 
among deities. These twelve and mindfulness of breathing do not occur in the 



32. "It is because only an abstract (parikappaja) object can be extended, not any other 
kind, that he said, 'it is not possible to extend a state consisting in an individual essence'" 
(Vism-mht 110). 

33. The word "nimitta " in its technical sense is consistently rendered here by the word 
"sign," which corresponds very nearly if not exactly to most uses of it. It is sometimes 
rendered by "mark" (which over-emphasizes the concrete), and by "image" (which is 
not always intended). The three kinds, that is, the preliminary- work sign, learning sign 
and counterpart sign, do not appear in the Pitakas. There the use rather suggests 
association of ideas as, for example, at M I 180, M I 119, A I 4, etc., than the more 
definitely visualized "image" in some instances of the "counterpart sign" described in 
the following chapters. 

34. Na-vattabba — "not so-classifiable" is an Abhidhamma shorthand term for 
something that, when considered under one of the triads or dyads of the Abhidhamma 
Matika (Dhs If.), cannot be placed under any one of the three, or two, headings. 

35. '"The festering' is a mobile object because of the oozing of the pus, 'the bleeding' 
because of the trickling of the blood, 'the worm-infested' because of the wriggling of the 
worms. The mobile aspect of the sunshine coming in through a window opening is 
evident, which explains why an object consisting of a circle of sunlight is called mobile" 
(Vism-mht 110). 

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Brahma-world. But none except the four immaterial states occur in the immaterial 
becoming. All occur among human beings. This is "as to plane." [114] 

119. 8. As to apprehending: here the exposition should be understood according 
to the seen, the touched and the heard. Herein, these nineteen, that is to say, nine 
kasinas omitting the air kasina and the ten kinds of foulness, must be apprehended 
by the seen. The meaning is that in the early stage their sign must be apprehended 
by constantly looking with the eye. In the case of mindfulness occupied with the 
body the five parts ending with skin must be apprehended by the seen and the rest 
by the heard, so its object must be apprehended by the seen and the heard. 
Mindfulness of breathing must be apprehended by the touched; the air kasina by 
the seen and the touched; the remaining eighteen by the heard. The divine abiding 
of equanimity and the four immaterial states are not apprehendable by a beginner; 
but the remaining thirty-five are. This is "as to apprehending." 

120. 9. As to condition: of these meditation subjects nine kasinas omitting the space 
kasina are conditions for the immaterial states. The ten kasinas are conditions for 
the kinds of direct-knowledge. Three divine abidings are conditions for the fourth 
divine abiding. Each lower immaterial state is a condition for each higher one. The 
base consisting of neither perception nor non-perception is a condition for the 
attainment of cessation. All are conditions for living in bliss, for insight, and for 
the fortunate kinds of becoming. This is "as to condition." 

121 . 10. As to suitability to temperament: here the exposition should be understood 
according to what is suitable to the temperaments. That is to say: first, the ten 
kinds of foulness and mindfulness occupied with the body are eleven meditation 
subjects suitable for one of greedy temperament. The four divine abidings and 
four colour kasinas are eight suitable for one of hating temperament. Mindfulness 
of breathing is the one [recollection as a] meditation subject suitable for one of 
deluded temperament and for one of speculative temperament. The first six 
recollections are suitable for one of faithful temperament. Mindfulness of death, 
the recollection of peace, the defining of the four elements, and the perception of 
repulsiveness in nutriment, are four suitable for one of intelligent temperament. 
The remaining kasinas and the immaterial states are suitable for all kinds of 
temperament. And anyone of the kasinas should be limited for one of speculative 
temperament and measureless for one of deluded temperament. This is how the 
exposition should be understood here "as to suitability to temperament." 

122. All this has been stated in the form of direct opposition and complete 
suitability. But there is actually no profitable development that does not suppress 
greed, etc., and help faith, and so on. And this is said in the Meghiya Sutta: "[One] 
should, in addition, 36 develop these four things: foulness should be developed for 
the purpose of abandoning greed (lust). Loving-kindness should be developed for 

36. "In addition to the five things" (not quoted) dealt with earlier in the sutta, namely, 
perfection of virtue, good friendship, hearing suitable things, energy, and understanding. 

37. '"Cryptic books': the meditation-subject books dealing with the truths, the 
dependent origination, etc., which are profound and associated with voidness" (Vism- 
mht 111). Cf. M-a II 264, A-a commentary to AN 4:180. 

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the purpose of abandoning ill will. [115] Mindfulness of breathing should be 
developed for the purpose of cutting off applied thought. Perception of 
impermanence should be cultivated for the purpose of eliminating the conceit, 'I 
am'" (A IV 358). Also in the Rahula Sutta, in the passage beginning, "Develop 
loving-kindness, Rahula" (M 1 424), seven meditation subjects are given for a single 
temperament. So instead of insisting on the mere letter, the intention should be 
sought in each instance. 

This is the explanatory exposition of the meditation subject referred to by the 
words he should apprehend... one [meditation subject] (§28). 

123. Now the words and he should apprehend are illustrated as follows. After 
approaching the good friend of the kind described in the explanation of the words 
then approach the good friend, the giver of a meditation subject (§28 and §57-73), the 
meditator should dedicate himself to the Blessed One, the Enlightened One, or to 
a teacher, and he should ask for the meditation subject with a sincere inclination 
[of the heart] and sincere resolution. 

124. Herein, he should dedicate himself to the Blessed One, the Enlightened One, 
in this way: "Blessed One, I relinquish this my person to you." For without having 
thus dedicated himself, when living in a remote abode he might be unable to stand 
fast if a frightening object made its appearance, and he might return to a village 
abode, become associated with laymen, take up improper search and come to ruin. 
But when he has dedicated himself in this way no fear arises in him if a frightening 
object makes its appearance; in fact only joy arises in him as he reflects: "Have you 
not wisely already dedicated yourself to the Enlightened One?" 

125. Suppose a man had a fine piece of Kasi cloth. He would feel grief if it were 
eaten by rats or moths; but if he gave it to a bhikkhu needing robes, he would feel 
only joy if he saw the bhikkhu tearing it up [to make his patched cloak]. And so it 
is with this. 

126. When he dedicates himself to a teacher, he should say: "I relinquish this my 
person to you, venerable sir." For one who has not dedicated his person thus 
becomes unresponsive to correction, hard to speak to, and unamenable to advice, 
or he goes where he likes without asking the teacher. Consequently the teacher 
does not help him with either material things or the Dhamma, and he does not 
train him in the cryptic books. 37 Failing to get these two kinds of help, [116] he 
finds no footing in the Dispensation, and he soon comes down to misconducting 
himself or to the lay state. But if he has dedicated his person, he is not unresponsive 
to correction, does not go about as he likes, is easy to speak to, and lives only in 
dependence on the teacher. He gets the twofold help from the teacher and attains 
growth, increase, and fulfilment in the Dispensation. Like the Elder Cula- 
Pindapatika-Tissa's pupils. 

127. Three bhikkhus came to the elder, it seems. One of them said, "Venerable sir, 
I am ready to fall from a cliff the height of one hundred men, if it is said to be to 
your advantage." The second said, "Venerable sir, I am ready to grind away this 
body from the heels up without remainder on a flat stone, if it is said to be to your 
advantage." The third said, "Venerable sir, I am ready to die by stopping breathing, 

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if it is said to be to your advantage." Observing, "These bhikkhus are certainly 
capable of progress," the elder expounded a meditation subject to them. Following 
his advice, the three attained Arahantship 

This is the benefit in self-dedication. Hence it was said above "dedicating himself 
to the Blessed One, the Enlightened One, or to a teacher." 

128. With a sincere inclination [of the heart] and sincere resolution (§ 123): the 
meditator's inclination should be sincere in the six modes beginning with non- 
greed. For it is one of such sincere inclination who arrives at one of the three kinds 
of enlightenment, according as it is said: "Six kinds of inclination lead to the 
maturing of the enlightenment of the Bodhisattas. With the inclination to non- 
greed, Bodhisattas see the fault in greed. With the inclination to non-hate, 
Bodhisattas see the fault in hate. With the inclination to non-delusion, Bodhisattas 
see the fault in delusion. With the inclination to renunciation, Bodhisattas see the 
fault in house life. With the inclination to seclusion, Bodhisattas see the fault in 
society. With the inclination to relinquishment, Bodhisattas see the fault in all kinds 
of becoming and destiny {Source untraced.)" For stream-enterers, once-returners, 
non-returners, those with cankers destroyed (i.e. Arahants), Paccekabuddhas, and 
Fully Enlightened Ones, whether past, future or present, all arrive at the distinction 
peculiar to each by means of these same six modes. That is why he should have 
sincerity of inclination in these six modes. 

129. He should be whole-heartedly resolved on that. The meaning is [117] that 
he should be resolved upon concentration, respect concentration, incline to 
concentration, be resolved upon Nibbana, respect Nibbana, incline to Nibbana. 

130. When, with sincerity of inclination and whole-hearted resolution in this way, 
he asks for a meditation subject, then a teacher who has acquired the penetration 
of minds can know his temperament by surveying his mental conduct; and a teacher 
who has not can know it by putting such questions to him as: "What is your 
temperament?" or "What states are usually present in you?" or "What do you like 
bringing to mind?" or "What meditation subject does your mind favour?" When 
he knows, he can expound a meditation subject suitable to that temperament. And 
in doing so, he can expound it in three ways: it can be expounded to one who has 
already learnt the meditation subject by having him recite it at one or two sessions; 
it can be expounded to one who lives in the same place each time he comes; and to 
one who wants to learn it and then go elsewhere it can be expounded in such a 
manner that it is neither too brief nor too long. 

131. Herein, when first he is explaining the earth kasina, there are nine aspects 
that he should explain. They are the four faults of the kasina, the making of a 
kasina, the method of development for one who has made it, the two kinds of sign, 
the two kinds of concentration, the seven kinds of suitable and unsuitable, the ten 
kinds of skill in absorption, evenness of energy, and the directions for absorption. 

In the case of the other meditation subjects, each should be expounded in the 
way appropriate to it. All this will be made clear in the directions for development. 
But when the meditation subject is being expounded in this way, the meditator 
must apprehend the sign as he listens. 

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132. Apprehend the sign means that he must connect each aspect thus: "This is the 
preceding clause, this is the subsequent clause, this is its meaning, this is its 
intention, this is the simile." When he listens attentively, apprehending the sign in 
this way, his meditation subject is well apprehended. Then, and because of that, he 
successfully attains distinction, but not otherwise. This clarifies the meaning of 
the words "and he must apprehend." 

133. At this point the clauses approach the good friend, the giver of a meditation 
subject, and he should apprehend from among the forty meditation subjects one 
that suits his own temperament (§28) have been expounded in detail in all their 
aspects. 

The third chapter called "The Description of Taking a 
Meditation Subject" in the Treatise on the Development of 
Concentration in the Path of Purification composed for the 
purpose of gladdening good people. 



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The Earth Kasina 
(Pathavl-kasina-niddesa) 

1. [118] Now, it was said earlier: After that he should avoid a monastery 
unfavourable to the development of concentration and go to live in one that is 
favourable (III. 28). In the first place one who finds it convenient to live with the 
teacher in the same monastery can live there while he is making certain of the 
meditation subject. If it is inconvenient there, he can live in another monastery — 
a suitable one — a quarter or a half or even a whole league distant. In that case, 
when he finds he is in doubt about, or has forgotten, some passage in the 
meditation subject, then he should do the duties in the monastery in good time 
and set out afterwards, going for alms on the way and arriving at the teacher's 
dwelling place after his meal. He should make certain about the meditation 
subject that day in the teacher's presence. Next day, after paying homage to the 
teacher, he should go for alms on his way back and so he can return to his own 
dwelling place without fatigue. But one who finds no convenient place within 
even a league should clarify all difficulties about the meditation subject and 
make quite sure it has been properly attended to. Then he can even go far away 
and, avoiding a monastery unfavourable to development of concentration, live in 
one that is favourable. 

[The Eighteen Faults of a Monastery] 

2. Herein, one that is unfavourable has anyone of eighteen faults. These are: (1) 
largeness, (2) newness, (3) dilapidatedness, (4) a nearby road, (5) a pond, (6) 
[edible] leaves, (7) flowers, (8) fruits, (9) famousness, (10) a nearby city, (11) nearby 
timber trees, (12) nearby arable fields, (13) presence of incompatible persons, (14) 
a nearby port of entry, (15) nearness to the border countries, (16) nearness to the 
frontier of a kingdom, (17) unsuitability (18) lack of good friends. [119] One with 
any of these faults is not favourable. He should not live there. Why? 

3. 1. Firstly, people with varying aims collect in a large monastery. They conflict 
with each other and so neglect the duties. The Enlightenment-tree terrace, etc., 
remain unswept, the water for drinking and washing is not set out. So if he 
thinks, "I shall go to the alms-resort village for alms" and takes his bowl and 
robe and sets out, perhaps he sees that the duties have not been done or that a 
drinking-water pot is empty, and so the duty has to be done by him unexpectedly. 
Drinking water must be maintained. By not doing it he would commit a 



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wrongdoing in the breach of a duty. But if he does it, he loses time. He arrives too 
late at the village and gets nothing because the alms giving is finished. Also, 
when he goes into retreat, he is distracted by the loud noises of novices and 
young bhikkhus, and by acts of the Community [being carried out] . However, he 
can live in a large monastery where all the duties are done and where there are 
none of the other disturbances. 

4. 2. In a new monastery there is much new building activity. People criticize 
someone who takes no part in it. But he can live in such a monastery where the 
bhikkhus say, "Let the venerable one do the ascetic's duties as much as he likes. 
We shall see to the building work." 

5. 3. In a dilapidated monastery there is much that needs repair. People criticize 
someone who does not see about the repairing of at least his own lodging. 
When he sees to the repairs, his meditation subject suffers. 

6. 4. In a monastery with a nearby road, by a main street, visitors keep arriving 
night and day. He has to give up his own lodging to those who come late, and he 
has to go and live at the root of a tree or on top of a rock. And next day it is the 
same. So there is no opportunity [to practice] his meditation subject. But he can 
live in one where there is no such disturbance by visitors. 

7. 5. A fond is a rock pool. Numbers of people come there for drinking water. 
Pupils of city-dwelling elders supported by the royal family come to do dyeing 
work. When they ask for vessels, wood, tubs, etc., [120] they must be shown 
where these things are. So he is kept all the time on the alert. 

8. 6. If he goes with his meditation subject to sit by day where there are many 
sorts of edible leaves, then women vegetable-gatherers, singing as they pick leaves 
nearby, endanger his meditation subject by disturbing it with sounds of the 
opposite sex. 

7. And where there are many sorts of flowering shrubs in bloom there is the same 
danger too. 

9. 8. Where there are many sorts of fruits such as mangoes, rose-apples and 
jak-fruits, people who want fruits come and ask for them, and they get angry if 
he does not give them any, or they take them by force. When walking in the 
monastery in the evening he sees them and asks, "Why do you do so, lay 
followers?" they abuse him as they please and even try to evict him. 

10. 9. When he lives in a monastery that is famous and renowned in the world, 
like Dakkhinagiri 1 Hatthikucchi, Cetiyagiri or Cittalapabbata, there are always 
people coming who want to pay homage to him, supposing that he is an Arahant, 
which inconveniences him. But if it suits him, he can live there at night and go 
elsewhere by day. 

11. 10. In one with a nearby city objects of the opposite sex come into focus. 
Women-pot carriers go by bumping into him with their jars and giving no room 



1. "They say it is the Dakkhinagiri in the Magadha country" (Vism-mht 116). There 
is mention of a Dakkhinagiri-vihara at M-a II 293 and elsewhere. 



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to pass. Also important people spread out carpets in the middle of the monastery 
and sit down. 

12. 11. One with nearby timber trees where there are timber trees and osiers 
useful for making framework is inconvenient because of the wood-gatherers 
there, like the gatherers of branches and fruits already mentioned. If there are 
trees in a monastery people come and cut them down to build houses with. 
When he has come out of his meditation room in the evening and is walking up 
and down in the monastery if he sees them and asks, "Why do you do so, lay 
followers?" they abuse him as they please and even try to evict him. 

13. 12. People make use of one with nearby arable fields, quite surrounded by 
fields. They make a threshing floor in the middle of the monastery itself. They 
thresh corn there, dry it in the forecourts, 2 and cause great inconvenience. And 
where there is extensive property belonging to the Community, the monastery 
attendants impound cattle belonging to families and deny the water supply [to 
their crops]. [121] Then people bring an ear of paddy and show it to the 
Community saying "Look at your monastery attendants' work." For one reason 
or another he has to go to the portals of the king or the king's ministers. This 
[matter of property belonging to the Community] is included by [a monastery 
that is] near arable fields. 

14. 13. Presence of incompatible persons: where there are bhikkhus living who 
are incompatible and mutually hostile, when they clash and it is protested, 
"Venerable sirs, do not do so," they exclaim, "We no longer count now that this 
refuse-rag wearer has come." 

15. 14. One with a nearby water port of entry or land port of entry 3 is made 
inconvenient by people constantly arriving respectively by ship or by caravan 
and crowding round, asking for space or for drinking water or salt. 

16. 15. In the case of one near the border countries, people have no trust in the 
Buddha, etc., there. 

16. In one near the frontier of a kingdom there is fear of kings. For perhaps one 
king attacks that place, thinking, "It does not submit to my rule," and the other 
does likewise, thinking, "It does not submit to my rule." A bhikkhu lives there 
when it is conquered by one king and when it is conquered by the other. Then 
they suspect him of spying, and they bring about his undoing. 

17. 17. Unsuitability is that due to the risk of encountering visible data, etc., of 
the opposite sex as objects or to haunting by non-human beings. Here is a story. 
An elder lived in a forest, it seems. Then an ogress stood in the door of his leaf 
hut and sang. The elder came out and stood in the door. She went to the end of 
the walk and sang. The elder went to the end of the walk. She stood in a chasm 
a hundred fathoms deep and sang. The elder recoiled. Then she suddenly 



2. Read pamukhesu sosayanti. Pamukha not thus in PED. 

3. "A 'water port of entry' is a port of entry on the sea or on an estuary. A 'land port of 
entry' is one on the edge of a forest and acts as the gateway on the road of approach 
to great cities" (Vism-mht 116). 



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grabbed him saying, "Venerable sir, it is not just one or two of the likes of you I 
have eaten." 

18. 18. Lack of good friends: where it is not possible to find a good friend as a 
teacher or the equivalent of a teacher or a preceptor or the equivalent of a preceptor, 
the lack of good friends there is a serious fault. 

One that has any of those eighteen faults should be understood as 
unfavourable. And this is said in the commentaries: 

A large abode, a new abode, 
One tumbling down, one near a road, 
One with a pond, or leaves, or flowers, 
Or fruits, or one that people seek; [122] 

In cities, among timber, fields, 
Where people quarrel, in a port, 
In border lands, on frontiers, 
Unsuitableness, and no good friend — 

These are the eighteen instances 
A wise man needs to recognize 
And give them full as wide a berth 
As any footpad-hunted road. 

[The Five Factors of the Resting Place] 

19. One that has the five factors beginning with "not too far from and not too 
near to" the alms resort is called favourable. For this is said by the Blessed One: 
"And how has a lodging five factors, bhikkhus? Here, bhikkhus, (1) a lodging is 
not too far, not too near, and has a path for going and coming. (2) It is little 
frequented by day with little sound and few voices by night. (3) There is little 
contact with gadflies, flies, wind, burning [sun] and creeping things. (4) One 
who lives in that lodging easily obtains robes, alms food, lodging, and the 
requisite of medicine as cure for the sick. (5) In that lodging there are elder 
bhikkhus living who are learned, versed in the scriptures, observers of the 
Dhamma, observers of the Vinaya, observers of the Codes, and when from time 
to time one asks them questions, 'How is this, venerable sir? What is the meaning 
of this?' then those venerable ones reveal the unrevealed, explain the unexplained, 
and remove doubt about the many things that raise doubts. This, bhikkhus, is 
how a lodging has five factors"(A V 15). 

These are the details for the clause, "After that he should avoid a monastery 
unfavourable to the development of concentration and go to live in one that is 
favourable" (111.28). 

[The Lesser Impediments] 

20. Then he should sever the lesser impediments (III. 28): one living in such a 
favourable monastery should sever any minor impediments that he may still 
have, that is to say, long head hair, nails, and body hair should be cut, mending 
and patching of old robes should be done, or those that are soiled should be 



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dyed. If there is a stain on the bowl, the bowl should be baked. The bed, chair, 
etc., should be cleaned up. These are the details for the clause, "Then he should 
sever the lesser impediments." 

[Detailed Instructions for Development] 

21. Now, with the clause, And not overlook any of the directions for development 
(III. 28), the time has come for the detailed exposition of all meditation subjects, 
starting with the earth kasina. 

[The Earth Kasina] 

[123] When a bhikkhu has thus severed the lesser impediments, then, on his 
return from his alms round after his meal and after he has got rid of drowsiness 
due to the meal, he should sit down comfortably in a secluded place and 
apprehend the sign in earth that is either made up or not made up. 

22. For this is said: 4 "One who is learning the earth kasina apprehends the 
sign in earth that is either made up or not made up; that is bounded, not 
unbounded; limited, not unlimited; with a periphery, not without a periphery; 
circumscribed, not uncircumscribed; either the size of a bushel (suppa) or the 
size of a saucer (sarava). He sees to it that that sign is well apprehended, well 
attended to, well defined. Having done that, and seeing its advantages and 
perceiving it as a treasure, building up respect for it, making it dear to him, he 
anchors his mind to that object, thinking, 'Surely in this way I shall be freed from 
aging and death.' Secluded from sense desires ... he enters upon and dwells in 
the first jhana ..." 

4. "Said in the Old Commentary. 'One who is learning the earth kasina': one who is 
apprehending, grasping, an earth kasina as a 'learning sign'. The meaning is, one who 
is producing an earth kasina that has become the sign of learning; and here 'arousing' 
should be regarded as the establishing of the sign in that way. 'In earth': in an earth 
disk of the kind about to be described. 'Apprehends the sign': he apprehends in that, 
with knowledge connected with meditative development, the sign of earth of the kind 
about to be described, as one does with the eye the sign of the face in a looking-glass. 
'Made up': prepared in the manner about to be described. 'Not made up': in a disk of 
earth consisting of an ordinary threshing-floor disk, and so on. 'Bounded': only in one 
that has bounds. As regard the words 'the size of a bushel', etc., it would be desirable 
that a bushel and a saucer were of equal size, but some say that 'the size of a saucer' is 
a span and four fingers, and the 'the size of a bushel' is larger than that. 'He sees to it that 
that sign is well apprehended': that meditator makes that disk of earth a well-apprehended 
sign. When, after apprehending the sign in it by opening the eyes, and looking and 
then closing them again, it appears to him as he adverts to it just as it did at the 
moment of looking with open eyes, then he has made it well apprehended. Having 
thoroughly established his mindfulness there, observing it again and again with his 
mind not straying outside, he sees that it is 'well attended to' . When it is well attended 
to thus by adverting and attending again and again by producing much repetition and 
development instigated by that, he sees that it is 'well defined ' . 'To that object': to that 
object called earth kasina, which has appeared rightly owing to its having been well 
apprehended. 'He anchors his mind': by bringing his own mind to access jhana he 
anchors it, keeps it from other objects" (Vism-mht 119). 

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23. Herein, when in a previous becoming a man has gone forth into 
homelessness in the Dispensation or [outside it] with the rishis' going forth and 
has already produced the jhana tetrad or pentad on the earth kasina, and so has 
such merit and the support [of past practice of jhana] as well, then the sign 
arises in him on earth that is not made up, that is to say, on a ploughed area or on 
a threshing floor, as in the Elder Mallaka's case. 

It seems that while that venerable one was looking at a ploughed area the sign 
arose in him the size of that area. He extended it and attained the jhana pentad. 
Then by establishing insight with the jhana as the basis for it, he reached 
Arahantship. 

[Making an Earth Kasina] 

24. But when a man has had no such previous practice, he should make a 
kasina, guarding against the four faults of a kasina and not overlooking any of 
the directions for the meditation subject learnt from the teacher. Now, the four 
faults of the earth kasina are due to the intrusion of blue, yellow, red or white. So 
instead of using clay of such colours, he should make the kasina of clay like that 
in the stream of the Ganga, 5 which is the colour of the dawn. [124] And he 
should make it not in the middle of the monastery in a place where novices, etc., 
are about but on the confines of the monastery in a screened place, either under 
an overhanging rock or in a leaf hut. He can make it either portable or as a 
fixture. 

25. Of these, a portable one should be made by tying rags of leather or matting 
onto four sticks and smearing thereon a disk of the size already mentioned, 
using clay picked clean of grass, roots, gravel, and sand, and well kneaded. At 
the time of the preliminary work it should be laid on the ground and looked at. 

A fixture should be made by knocking stakes into the ground in the form of a 
lotus calyx, lacing them over with creepers. If the clay is insufficient, then other 
clay should be put underneath and a disk a span and four fingers across made 
on top of that with the quite pure dawn-coloured clay. For it was with reference 
only to measurement that it was said above either the size of a bushel or the size of a 
saucer (§22). But that is bounded, not unbounded was said to show its delimitedness. 

26. So, having thus made it delimited and of the size prescribed, he should 
scrape it down with a stone trowel — a wooden trowel turns it a bad colour, so 
that should not be employed — and make it as even as the surface of a drum. 
Then he should sweep the place out and have a bath. On his return he should 
seat himself on a well-covered chair with legs a span and four fingers high, 
prepared in a place that is two and a half cubits [that is, two and a half times 
elbow to finger-tip] from the kasina disk. For the kasina does not appear plainly 
to him if he sits further off than that; and if he sits nearer than that, faults in the 



5. "Ganga (= 'river') is the name for the Ganges in India and for the Mahavaeligariga, 
Sri Lanka's principal river. However, in the Island of Sri Lanka there is a river, it seems, 
called the Ravanaganga. The clay in the places where the banks are cut away by its 
stream is the colour of dawn" (Vism-mht 119). 



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kasina appear. If he sits higher up, he has to look at it with his neck bent; and if 
he sits lower down, his knees ache. 

[Starting Contemplation] 

27. So, after seating himself in the way stated, he should review the dangers in 
sense desires in the way beginning, "Sense desires give little enjoyment" (M I 
91) and arouse longing for the escape from sense desires, for the renunciation 
that is the means to the surmounting of all suffering. He should next arouse joy 
of happiness by recollecting the special qualities of the Buddha, the Dhamma, 
and the Sangha; then awe by thinking, "Now, this is the way of renunciation 
entered upon by all Buddhas, Paccekabuddhas and noble disciples"; and then 
eagerness by thinking, "In this way I shall surely come to know the taste of the 
bliss of seclusion." [125] After that he should open his eyes moderately, apprehend 
the sign, and so proceed to develop it. 6 

28. If he opens his eyes too wide, they get fatigued and the disk becomes too 
obvious, which prevents the sign becoming apparent to him. If he opens them 
too little, the disk is not obvious enough, and his mind becomes drowsy, which 
also prevents the sign becoming apparent to him. So he should develop it by 
apprehending the sign (nimitta), keeping his eyes open moderately, as if he were 
seeing the reflection of his face (mukha-nimitta) on the surface of a looking- 
glass. 7 

29. The colour should not be reviewed. The characteristic should not be given 
attention. 8 But rather, while not ignoring the colour, attention should be given 

6. "'Apprehend the sign': apprehend with the mind the sign apprehended by the eye 
in the earth kasina. 'And develop it': the apprehending of the sign as it occurs should be 
continued intensively and constantly practiced" (Vism-mht 120). 

7. "Just as one who sees his reflection (mukha-nimitta — lit. "face-sign") on the surface 
of a looking-glass does not open his eyes too widely or too little (in order to get the 
effect), nor does he review the colour of the looking-glass or give attention to its 
characteristic, but rather looks with moderately opened eyes and sees only the sign of 
his face, so too this meditator looks with moderately opened eyes at the earth kasina 
and is occupied only with the sign" (Vism-mht 121). 

8. "The dawn colour that is there in the kasina should not be thought about, though 
it cannot be denied that it is apprehended by eye-consciousness. That is why instead 
of saying here, 'should not be looked at/ he says that it should not be apprehended by 
reviewing. Also the earth element's characteristic of hardness, which is there, should 
not be given attention because the apprehension has to be done through the channel 
of seeing. And after saying, 'while not ignoring the colour' he said, 'relegating the 
colour to the position of a property of the physical support/ showing that here the 
concern is not with the colour, which is the channel, but rather that this colour should 
be treated as an accessory of the physical support; the meaning is that the kasina 
(disk) should be given attention with awareness of both the accompanying earth- 
aspect and its ancillary colour-aspect, but taking the earth-aspect with its ancillary 
concomitant colour as both supported equally by that physical support [the disk]. 'On 
the concept as the mental datum since that is what is outstanding': the term of ordinary 
usage 'earth' (pathavi) as applied to earth with its accessories, since the prominence of 

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Path of Purification Part 2: Concentration (Samadhi) 

by setting the mind on the [name] concept as the most outstanding mental 
datum, relegating the colour to the position of a property of its physical support. 
That [conceptual state] can be called by anyone he likes among the names for 
earth (pathavl) such as "earth" (pathavi), "the Great One" (mahl), "the Friendly 
One" (medim), "ground" (bhumi), "the Provider of Wealth" (vasudha), "the Bearer 
of Wealth" (vasudhara), etc., whichever suits his manner of perception. Still "earth" 
is also a name that is obvious, so it can be developed with the obvious one by 
saying "earth, earth." It should be adverted to now with eyes open, now with 
eyes shut. And he should go on developing it in this way a hundred times, a 
thousand times, and even more than that, until the learning sign arises. 

30. When, while he is developing it in this way, it comes into focus 9 as he 
adverts with his eyes shut exactly as it does with his eyes open, then the learning 
sign is said to have been produced. After its production he should no longer sit 
in that place; 10 he should return to his own quarters and go on developing it 
sitting there. But in order to avoid the delay of foot washing, a pair of single- 
soled sandals and a walking stick are desirable. Then if the new concentration 
vanishes through some unsuitable encounter, he can put his sandals on, take 
his walking stick, and go back to the place to re-apprehend the sign there. When 
he returns he should seat himself comfortably and develop it by reiterated reaction 
to it and by striking at it with thought and applied thought. 

[The Counterpart Sign] 

31. As he does so, the hindrances eventually become suppressed, the 
defilements subside, the mind becomes concentrated with access concentration, 
and the counterpart sign arises. 

The difference between the earlier learning sign and the counterpart sign is 
this. In the learning sign any fault in the kasina is apparent. But the counterpart 
sign [126] appears as if breaking out from the learning sign, and a hundred 
times, a thousand times more purified, like a looking-glass disk drawn from its 
case, like a mother-of-pearl dish well washed, like the moon's disk coming out 
from behind a cloud, like cranes against a thunder cloud. But it has neither 
colour nor shape; for if it had, it would be cognizable by the eye, gross, susceptible 
of comprehension [by insight — (see XX. 2f.)] and stamped with the three 
characteristics. 11 But it is not like that. For it is born only of perception in one 
who has obtained concentration, being a mere mode of appearance. 12 But as 



its individual effect is due to outstandingness of the earth element: 'setting the mind' 
on that mental datum consisting of a [name-] concept (pannatti-dhamma), the kasina 
should be given attention as 'earth, earth.' — If the mind is to be set on a mere concept 
by means of a term of common usage, ought earth to be given attention by means of 
different names? — It can be. What is wrong? It is to show that that is done he said, 
'MahT, medinl,' and so on" (Vism-mht 122). 

9. '"Comes into focus': becomes the resort of mind-door impulsion" (Vism-mht 122). 

10. "Why should he not? If, after the learning sign was produced, he went on 
developing it by looking at the disk of the earth, there would be no arising of the 
counterpart sign" (Vism-mht 122). 



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soon as it arises the hindrances are quite suppressed, the defilements subside, 
and the mind becomes concentrated in access concentration. 

[The Two Kinds of Concentration] 

32. Now, concentration is of two kinds, that is to say, access concentration and 
absorption concentration: the mind becomes concentrated in two ways, that is, 
on the plane of access and on the plane of obtainment. Herein, the mind becomes 
concentrated on the plane of access by the abandonment of the hindrances, and 
on the plane of obtainment by the manifestation of the jhana factors. 

33. The difference between the two kinds of concentration is this. The factors 
are not strong in access. It is because they are not strong that when access has 
arisen, the mind now makes the sign its object and now re-enters the life- 
continuum, 13 just as when a young child is lifted up and stood on its feet, it 

11. "Stamped with the three characteristics of the formed beginning with rise (see A 
1 152), or marked with the three characteristics beginning with impermanence" (Vism- 
mht 122). 

12. "If 'it is not like that' — is not possessed of colour, etc. — then how is it the object 
of jhana? It is in order to answer that question that the sentence beginning, 'For it is ... ' 
is given. 'Born of the perception': produced by the perception during development, 
simply born from the perception during development. Since there is no arising from 
anywhere of what has no individual essence, he therefore said, 'Being the mere mode 
of appearance'" (Vism-mht 122). See Ch. VIII, n. 11. 

13. Bhavanga (life-continuum, lit. "constituent of becoming") and javana (impulsion) 
are first mentioned in this work at 1.57 (see n. 16); this is the second mention. The 
"cognitive series" (citta-vithi) so extensively used here is unknown as such in the 
Pitakas. Perhaps the seed from which it sprang may exist in, say, such passages as: 
"Due to eye and to visible data eye-consciousness arises. The coincidence of the three 
is contact. With contact as condition there is feeling. What he feels he perceives. What 
he perceives he thinks about4. What he thinks about he diversifies [by means of 
craving, pride and false view] . . . Due to mind and to mental data ..." (M 1111). And : "Is 
the eye permanent or impermanent . . . Are visible objects permanent or impermanent? 
... Is the mind permanent or impermanent? Are mental data ... Is mind-consciousness 
... Is mind-contact ... Is any feeling, any perception, any formation, any consciousness, 
that arises with mind-contact as condition permanent or impermanent?" (M III 279). 
And: "These five faculties [of eye, etc.] each with its separate objective field and no one 
of them experiencing as its objective field the province of any other, have mind as their 
refuge, and mind experiences their provinces as its objective field" (M I 295). This 
treatment of consciousness implies, as it were, more than even a "double thickness" 
of consciousness. An already-formed nucleus of the cognitive series, based on such 
Sutta Pitakas material, appears in the Abhidhamma Pitakas. The following two 
quotations show how the commentary (bracketed italics) expands the Abhidhamma 
Pitakas treatment. 

(i) "Herein, what is eye-consciousness element? Due to eye and to visible data (as 
support condition, and to functional mind element (= 5-door adverting), as disappearance 
condition, and to the remaining three immaterial aggregates as conascence condition) there 
arises consciousness . . . which is eye-consciousness element. [Similarly with the other 
four sense elements.] Herein, what is mind element? Eye-consciousness having arisen 

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repeatedly falls down on the ground. But the factors are strong in absorption. It 
is because they are strong that when absorption concentration has arisen, the 
mind, having once interrupted the flow of the life-continuum, carries on with a 
stream of profitable impulsion for a whole night and for a whole day, just as a 
healthy man, after rising from his seat, could stand for a whole day. 

[Guarding the Sign] 

34. The arousing of the counterpart sign, which arises together with access 
concentration, is very difficult. Therefore if he is able to arrive at absorption 
in that same session by extending the sign, it is good. If not, then he must 
guard the sign diligently as if it were the foetus of a Wheel-turning Monarch 
(World-ruler). 



and ceased, next to that there arises consciousness . . . which is appropriate (profitable 
or unprofitable) mind element (in the mode of receiving). [Similarly with the other 
four sense elements.] Or else it is the first reaction to any mental datum (to be taken 
as functional mind element in the mode of mind-door adverting). Herein, what is 
mind-consciousness element? Eye-consciousness having arisen and ceased, next to 
that there arises mind element. (Resultant) mind element having arisen and ceased, 
also (next to that there arises resultant mind-consciousness element in the mode of 
investigating; and that having arisen and ceased, next to that there arises functional 
mind-consciousness element in the mode of determining; and that having arisen and 
ceased) next to that there arises consciousness ... which is appropriate mind- 
consciousness element (in the mode of impulsion). [Similarly with the other four 
sense elements.] Due to (life-continuum) mind and to mental data there arises 
consciousness ... which is appropriate (impulsion) mind-consciousness element 
(following on the above-mentioned mind-door adverting)" (Vibh 87-90 and Vibh-a 
81f.). 

(ii) "Eye-consciousness and its associated states are a condition, as proximity 
condition, for (resultant) mind element and for its associated states. Mind element and 
its associated states are a condition, as proximity condition, for (root-causeless resultant) 
mind-consciousness element (in the mode of investigating) and for its associated states. 
(Next to that, the mind-consciousness elements severally in the modes of determining, 
impulsion, registration, and life- continuum should be mentioned, though they are not, since 
the teaching is abbreviated.) [Similarly for the other four senses and mind-consciousness 
element]. Preceding profitable (impulsion) states are a condition, as proximity condition, 
for subsequent indeterminate (registration, life-continuum) states [etc.]" (Patth II, and 
Corny, 33-34). 

The form that the two kinds (5-door and mind-door) of the cognitive series take is 
shown in Table V The following are some Pitakas references for the individual modes: 
bhavanga (life-continuum): Patth I 159, 160, 169, 324; avajjana (adverting) Patth I 159, 
160, 169, 324; sampaticchana (receiving), santlrana (investigating), votthapana 
(determining), and tadarammana (registration) appear only in the Commentaries. Javana 
(impulsion): Patis II 73, 76. The following references may also be noted here: anuloma 
(conformity), Patth 1 325. Cuti-citta (death consciousness), Patth 1 324. Patisandhi (rebirth- 
linking), Vism-mht 1, 320, etc.; Patis II 72, etc. 



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So guard the sign, nor count the cost, 
And what is gained will not be lost; 
Who fails to have this guard maintained 
Will lose each time what he has gained. [127] 

35. Herein, the way of guarding it is this: 

(1) Abode, (2) resort, (3) and speech, (4) and person, 
(5) The food, (6) the climate, (7) and the posture — 
Eschew these seven different kinds 

Whenever found unsuitable. 
But cultivate the suitable; 
For one perchance so doing finds 
He need not wait too long until 
Absorption shall his wish fulfil. 

36. 1. Herein, an abode is unsuitable if, while he lives in it, the unarisen sign 
does not arise in him or is lost when it arises, and where unestablished 
mindfulness fails to become established and the unconcentrated mind fails to 
become concentrated. That is suitable in which the sign arises and becomes 
confirmed, in which mindfulness becomes established and the mind becomes 
concentrated, as in the Elder Padhaniya-Tissa, resident at Nagapabbata. So if a 
monastery has many abodes he can try them one by one, living in each for three 
days, and stay on where his mind becomes unified. For it was due to suitability 
of abode that five hundred bhikkhus reached Arahantship while still dwelling 
in the Lesser Naga Cave (Cula-naga-lena) in Tambapanni Island (Sri Lanka) after 
apprehending their meditation subject there. There is no counting the stream- 
enterers who have reached Arahantship there after reaching the noble plane 
elsewhere; so too in the monastery of Cittalapabbata, and others. 

37. 2. An alms-resorf village lying to the north or south of the lodging, not too 
far, within one kosa and a half, and where alms food is easily obtained, is suitable. 
The opposite kind is unsuitable. 14 

38. 3. Speech: that included in the thirty-two kinds of aimless talk is unsuitable; 
for it leads to the disappearance of the sign. But talk based on the ten examples 
of talk is suitable, though even that should be discussed with moderation. 15 

39. 4. Person: one not given to aimless talk, who has the special qualities of 
virtue, etc., by acquaintanceship with whom the unconcentrated mind becomes 
concentrated, or the concentrated mind becomes more so, is suitable. One who is 
much concerned with his body 16 who is addicted to aimless talk, is unsuitable; 
for he only creates disturbances, like muddy water added to clear water. And it 



14. North or south to avoid facing the rising sun in coming or going. Kosa is not in 
PED; "one and a half kosa = 3,000 bows" (Vism-mht 123). 

15. Twenty-six kinds of "aimless" (lit. "animal") talk are given in the Suttas (e.g. M II 
1; III 113), which the commentary increases to thirty-two (M-a III 233). The ten instances 
of talk are those given in the Suttas (e.g. M 1 145; III 113). See Ch. I, n.12. 

16. "One who is occupied with exercising and caring for the body" (Vism-mht 124). 



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was owing to one such as this that the attainments of the young bhikkhu who 
lived at Kotapabbata vanished, not to mention the sign. [128] 

40. 5. Food: Sweet food suits one, sour food another. 

6. Climate: a cool climate suits one, a warm one another. So when he finds that 
by using certain food or by living in a certain climate he is comfortable, or his 
unconcentrated mind becomes concentrated, or his concentrated mind becomes 
more so, then that food or that climate is suitable. Any other food or climate is 
unsuitable. 

41. 7. Postures: walking suits one; standing or sitting or lying down suits 
another. So he should try them, like the abode, for three days each, and that 
posture is suitable in which his unconcentrated mind becomes concentrated or 
his concentrated mind becomes more so. Any other should be understood as 
unsuitable. 

So he should avoid the seven unsuitable kinds and cultivate the suitable. For 
when he practices in this way, assiduously cultivating the sign, then, "he need 
not wait too long until absorption shall his wish fulfil." 

[The Ten Kinds of Skill in Absorption] 

42. However, if this does not happen while he is practicing in this way, then he 
should have recourse to the ten kinds of skill in absorption. Here is the method. 
Skill in absorption needs [to be dealt with in] ten aspects: (1) making the basis 
clean, (2) maintaining balanced faculties, (3) skill in the sign, (4) he exerts the 
mind on an occasion when it should be exerted, (5) he restrains the mind on an 
occasion when it should be restrained, (6) he encourages the mind on an 
occasion when it should be encouraged, (7) he looks on at the mind with 
equanimity when it should be looked on at with equanimity, (8) avoidance of 
unconcentrated persons, (9) cultivation of concentrated persons, (10) resoluteness 
upon that (concentration). 

43. 1. Herein, making the basis clean is cleansing the internal and the external 
basis. For when his head hair, nails and body hair are long, or when the body is 
soaked with sweat, then the internal basis is unclean and unpurified. But when 
an old dirty smelly robe is worn or when the lodging is dirty, then the external 
basis is unclean and unpurified. [129] When the internal and external bases are 
unclean, then the knowledge in the consciousness and consciousness- 
concomitants that arise is unpurified, like the light of a lamp's flame that arises 
with an unpurified lamp-bowl, wick and oil as its support; formations do not 
become evident to one who tries to comprehend them with unpurified knowledge, 
and when he devotes himself to his meditation subject, it does not come to 
growth, increase and fulfilment. 

44. But when the internal and external bases are clean, then the knowledge in 
the consciousness and consciousness-concomitants that arise is clean and 
purified, like the light of a lamp's flame that arises with a purified lamp bowl, 
wick and oil as its support; formations become evident to one who tries to 
comprehend them with purified knowledge, and as he devotes himself to his 
meditation subject, it comes to growth, increase and fulfilment. 

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45. 2. Maintaining balanced faculties is equalizing the [five] faculties of faith and 
the rest. For if his faith faculty is strong and the others weak, then the energy 
faculty cannot perform its function of exerting, the mindfulness faculty its 
function of establishing, the concentration faculty its function of not distracting, 
and the understanding faculty its function of seeing. So in that case the faith 
faculty should be modified either by reviewing the individual essences of the 
states [concerned, that is, the objects of attention] or by not giving [them] attention 
in the way in which the faith faculty became too strong. And this is illustrated 
by the story of the Elder Vakkali (S III 119). 

46. Then if the energy faculty is too strong, the faith faculty cannot perform its 
function of resolving, nor can the rest of the faculties perform their several 
functions. So in that case the energy faculty should be modified by developing 
tranquillity, and so on. And this should be illustrated by the story of the Elder 
Sona (Vin 1 179-85; A III 374-76). So too with the rest; for it should be understood 
that when anyone of them is too strong the others cannot perform their several 
functions. 

47. However, what is particularly recommended is balancing faith with 
understanding, and concentration with energy. For one strong in faith and 
weak in understanding has confidence uncritically and groundlessly One 
strong in understanding and weak in faith errs on the side of cunning and is as 
hard to cure as one sick of a disease caused by medicine. With the balancing of 
the two a man has confidence only when there are grounds for it. 

Then idleness overpowers one strong in concentration and weak in energy, since 
concentration favours idleness. [130] Agitation overpowers one strong in energy 
and weak in concentration, since energy favours agitation. But concentration 
coupled with energy cannot lapse into idleness, and energy coupled with 
concentration cannot lapse into agitation. So these two should be balanced; for 
absorption comes with the balancing of the two. 

48. Again, [concentration and faith should be balanced]. One working on 
concentration needs strong faith, since it is with such faith and confidence that 
he reaches absorption. Then there is [balancing of] concentration and 
understanding. One working on concentration needs strong unification, since 
that is how he reaches absorption; and one working on insight needs strong 
understanding, since that is how he reaches penetration of characteristics; but 
with the balancing of the two he reaches absorption as well. 

49. Strong mindfulness, however, is needed in all instances; for mindfulness 
protects the mind from lapsing into agitation through faith, energy and 
understanding, which favour agitation, and from lapsing into idleness through 
concentration, which favours idleness. So it is as desirable in all instances as a 
seasoning of salt in all sauces, as a prime minister in all the king's business. 
Hence it is said [in the commentaries (D-a 788, M-a I 292, etc)]: "And mindfulness 
has been called universal by the Blessed One. For what reason? Because the 
mind has mindfulness as its refuge, and mindfulness is manifested as protection, 
and there is no exertion and restraint of the mind without mindfulness." 



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50. 3. Skill in the sign is skill in producing the as yet unproduced sign of 
unification of mind through the earth kasina, etc.; and it is skill in developing 
[the sign] when produced, and skill in protecting [the sign] when obtained by 
development. The last is what is intended here. 

51. 4. How does he exert the mind on an occasion when it should he exerted'! When 
his mind is slack with over-laxness of energy etc., then, instead of developing 
the three enlightenment factors beginning with tranquillity, he should develop 
those beginning with investigation-of-states. For this is said by the Blessed One: 
"Bhikkhus, suppose a man wanted to make a small fire burn up, and he put wet 
grass on it, put wet cow -dung on it, put wet sticks on it, sprinkled it with water, 
and scattered dust on it, would that man be able to make the small fire burn up?" 
[131] — "No, venerable sir." — "So too, bhikkhus, when the mind is slack, that is 
not the time to develop the tranquillity enlightenment factor, the concentration 
enlightenment factor or the equanimity enlightenment factor. Why is that? 
Because a slack mind cannot well be roused by those states. When the mind is 
slack, that is the time to develop the investigation-of-states enlightenment factor, 
the energy enlightenment factor and the happiness enlightenment factor. Why 
is that? Because a slack mind can well be roused by those states. 

"Bhikkhus, suppose a man wanted to make a small fire burn up, and he put 
dry grass on it, put dry cow-dung on it, put dry sticks on it, blew on it with his 
mouth, and did not scatter dust on it, would that man be able to make that small 
fire burn up?" — "Yes, venerable sir" (S V 112). 

52. And here the development of the investigation-of-states enlightenment 
factor, etc., should be understood as the nutriment for each one respectively, for 
this is said: "Bhikkhus, there are profitable and unprofitable states, reprehensible 
and blameless states, inferior and superior states, dark and bright states the 
counterpart of each other. Wise attention much practiced therein is the nutriment 
for the arising of the unarisen investigation-of-states enlightenment factor, or 
leads to the growth, fulfilment, development and perfection of the arisen 
investigation-of-states enlightenment factor." Likewise: "Bhikkhus there is the 
element of initiative, the element of launching, and the element of persistence. 
Wise attention much practiced therein is the nutriment for the arising of the 
unarisen energy enlightenment factor, or leads to the growth, fulfilment, 
development and perfection of the arisen energy enlightenment factors." 
Likewise: "Bhikkhus, there are states productive of the happiness enlightenment 
factor. Wise attention much practiced therein is the nutriment for the arising of 
the unarisen happiness enlightenment factor, or leads to the growth, fulfilment, 
development and perfection of the arisen happiness enlightenment factor" (S V 
104). [132] 

53. Herein, wise attention given to the -profitable, etc., is attention occurring in 
penetration of individual essences and of [the three] general characteristics. 
Wise attention given to the element of initiative, etc., is attention occurring in the 
arousing of the element of initiative, and so on. Herein, initial energy is called 
the element of initiative. The element of launching is stronger than that because it 
launches out from idleness. The element of persistence is still stronger than that 



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because it goes on persisting in successive later stages. States productive of the 
happiness enlightenment factor is a name for happiness itself; and attention that 
arouses that is wise attention. 

54. There are, besides, seven things that lead to the arising of the investigation- 
of-states enlightenment factor: (i) asking questions, (ii) making the basis clean, 
(iii) balancing the faculties, (iv) avoidance of persons without understanding, 
(v) cultivation of persons with understanding, (vi) reviewing the field for the 
exercise of profound knowledge, (vii) resoluteness upon that [investigation of 
states]. 

55. Eleven things lead to the arising of the energy enlightenment factor: (i) 
reviewing the tearfulness of the states of loss such as the hell realms, etc., (ii) 
seeing benefit in obtaining the mundane and supramundane distinctions 
dependent on energy, (iii) reviewing the course of the journey [to be travelled] 
thus: "The path taken by the Buddhas, Paccekabuddhas, and the great disciples 
has to be taken by me, and it cannot be taken by an idler," (iv) being a credit to 
the alms food by producing great fruit for the givers, (v) reviewing the greatness 
of the Master thus: "My Master praises the energetic, and this unsurpassable 
Dispensation that is so helpful to us is honoured in the practice, not otherwise," 
(vi) reviewing the greatness of the heritage thus: "It is the great heritage called 
the Good Dhamma that is to be acquired by me, and it cannot be acquired by an 
idler," (vii) removing stiffness and torpor by attention to perception of light, 
change of postures, frequenting the open air, etc., (viii) avoidance of idle persons, 
(ix) cultivation of energetic persons, (x) reviewing the right endeavours, (xi) 
resoluteness upon that [energy]. 

56. Eleven things lead to the arising of the happiness enlightenment factor: 
the recollections (i) of the Buddha, (ii) of the Dhamma, (iii) of the Sangha, (iv) of 
virtue, (v) of generosity, and (vi) of deities, (vii) the recollection of peace, [133] 
(viii) avoidance of rough persons, (ix) cultivation of refined persons, (x) reviewing 
encouraging discourses, (xi) resoluteness upon that [happiness]. 

So by arousing these things in these ways he develops the investigation-of- 
states enlightenment factor, and the others. This is how he exerts the mind on an 
occasion when it should be exerted. 

57. 5. How does he restrain the mind on an occasion when it should be restrained? 
When his mind is agitated through over-energeticness, etc., then, instead of 
developing the three enlightenment factors beginning with investigation-of- 
states, he should develop those beginning with tranquillity; for this is said by 
the Blessed One: "Bhikkhus, suppose a man wanted to extinguish a great mass 
of fire, and he put dry grass on it ... and did not scatter dust on it, would that 
man be able to extinguish that great mass of fire?" — "No, venerable sir." — "So 
too, bhikkhus, when the mind is agitated, that is not the time to develop the 
investigation-of-states enlightenment factor, the energy enlightenment factor or 
the happiness enlightenment factor. Why is that? Because an agitated mind 
cannot well be quieted by those states. When the mind is agitated, that is the time 
to develop the tranquillity enlightenment factor, the concentration enlightenment 



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factor and the equanimity enlightenment factor. Why is that? Because an agitated 
mind can well be quieted by those states." 

"Bhikkhus, suppose a man wanted to extinguish a great mass of fire, 
and he put wet grass on it ... and scattered dust on it, would that man be 
able to extinguish that great mass of fire?" — "Yes, venerable sir" (S V 114). 

58. And here the development of the tranquillity enlightenment factor, etc., 
should be understood as the nutriment for each one respectively, for this is said: 
"Bhikkhus, there is bodily tranquillity and mental tranquillity. [134] Wise 
attention much practiced therein is the nutriment for the arising of the unarisen 
tranquillity enlightenment factor, or leads to the growth, fulfilment, development 
and perfection of the arisen tranquillity enlightenment factor." Likewise: 
"Bhikkhus, there is the sign of serenity, the sign of non-diversion. Wise attention, 
much practiced, therein is the nutriment for the arising of the unarisen 
concentration enlightenment factor, or it leads to the growth, fulfilment, 
development and perfection of the arisen concentration enlightenment factor." 
Likewise: "Bhikkhus, there are states productive of the equanimity enlightenment 
factor. Wise attention, much practiced, therein is the nutriment for the arising of 
the unarisen equanimity enlightenment factor, or it leads to the growth, fulfilment, 
development and perfection of the arisen equanimity enlightenment factor" (S 
V 104). 

59. Herein wise attention given to the three instances is attention occurring in 
arousing tranquillity, etc., by observing the way in which they arose in him 
earlier. The sign of serenity is a term for serenity itself, and non-diversion is a term 
for that too in the sense of non-distraction. 

60. There are, besides, seven things that lead to the arising of the tranquillity 
enlightenment factor: (i) using superior food, (ii) living in a good climate, (iii) 
maintaining a pleasant posture, (iv) keeping to the middle, (v) avoidance of 
violent persons, (vi) cultivation of persons tranquil in body, (vii) resoluteness 
upon that [tranquillity]. 

61. Eleven things lead to the arising of the concentration enlightenment factor: 
(i) making the basis clean, (ii) skill in the sign, (iii) balancing the faculties, (iv) 
restraining the mind on occasion, (v) exerting the mind on occasion, (vi) 
encouraging the listless mind by means of faith and a sense of urgency, (vii) 
looking on with equanimity at what is occurring rightly, (viii) avoidance of 
unconcentrated persons, (ix) cultivation of concentrated persons, (x) reviewing 
of the jhanas and liberations, (xi) resoluteness upon that [concentration]. 

62. Five things lead to the arising of the equanimity enlightenment factor: (i) 
maintenance of neutrality towards living beings; (ii) maintenance of neutrality 
towards formations (inanimate things); (iii) avoidance of persons who show 
favouritism towards beings and formations; (iv) cultivation of persons who 
maintain neutrality towards beings and formations; (v) resoluteness upon that 
[equanimity]. [135] 

So by arousing these things in these ways he develops the tranquillity 
enlightenment factor, as well as the others. This is how he restrains the mind on 
an occasion when it should be restrained. 

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63. 6. How does he encourage the mind on an occasion when it should be encouraged'! 
When his mind is listless owing to sluggishness in the exercise of understanding 
or to failure to attain the bliss of peace, then he should stimulate it by reviewing 
the eight grounds for a sense of urgency. These are the four, namely, birth, aging, 
sickness, and death, with the suffering of the states of loss as the fifth, and also 
the suffering in the past rooted in the round [of rebirths], the suffering in the 
future rooted in the round [of rebirths], and the suffering in the present rooted in 
the search for nutriment. And he creates confidence by recollecting the special 
qualities of the Buddha, the Dhamma, and the Sangha. This is how he encourages 
the mind on an occasion when it should be encouraged. 

64. 7. How does he look on at the mind with equanimity on an occasion when it 
should be looked on at with equanimity'! When he is practicing in this way and his 
mind follows the road of serenity, occurs evenly on the object, and is unidle, 
unagitated and not listless, then he is not interested to exert or restrain or 
encourage it; he is like a charioteer when the horses are progressing evenly. This 
is how he looks on at the mind with equanimity on an occasion when it should 
be looked on at with equanimity. 

65. 8. Avoidance of unconcentrated persons is keeping far away from persons who 
have never trodden the way of renunciation, who are busy with many affairs, 
and whose hearts are distracted. 

9. Cultivation of concentrated persons is approaching periodically persons who 
have trodden the way of renunciation and obtained concentration. 

10. Resoluteness upon that is the state of being resolute upon concentration; the 
meaning is, giving concentration importance, tending, leaning and inclining to 
concentration. 

This is how the tenfold skill in concentration should be undertaken. 

66. Any man who acquires this sign, 
This tenfold skill will need to heed 
In order for absorption to gain 
Thus achieving his bolder goal. 
But if in spite of his efforts 

No result comes that might requite 
His work, still a wise wight persists, 
Never this task relinquishing, [136] 
Since a tiro, if he gives up, 
Thinking not to continue in 
The task, never gains distinction 
Here no matter how small at all. 

A man wise in temperament 17 
Notices how his mind inclines: 
Energy and serenity 
Always he couples each to each. 

17. Buddha — "possessed of wit": not in PED; see M-a I 39. 

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Now, his mind, seeing that it holds back, 

He prods, now the restraining rein 

Tightening, seeing it pull too hard; 

Guiding with even pace the race. 

Well-controlled bees get the pollen; 

Well-balanced efforts meet to treat 

Leaves, thread, and ships, and oil-tubes too, 

Gain thus, not otherwise, the prize. 

Let him set aside this lax 

Also this agitated state, 

Steering here his mind at the sign 

As the bee and the rest suggest. 

[The Five Similes] 

67. Here is the explanation of the meaning. 

When a too clever bee learns that a flower on a tree is blooming, it sets out 
hurriedly, overshoots the mark, turns back, and arrives when the pollen is finished; 
and another, not clever enough bee, who sets out with too slow a speed, arrives 
when the pollen is finished too; but a clever bee sets out with balanced speed, 
arrives with ease at the cluster of flowers, takes as much pollen as it pleases and 
enjoys the honey-dew. 

68. Again, when a surgeon's pupils are being trained in the use of the scalpel 
on a lotus leaf in a dish of water, one who is too clever applies the scalpel 
hurriedly and either cuts the lotus leaf in two or pushes it under the water, and 
another who is not clever enough does not even dare to touch it with the scalpel 
for fear of cutting it in two or pushing it under; but one who is clever shows the 
scalpel stroke on it by means of a balanced effort, and being good at his craft he 
is rewarded on such occasions. 

69. Again when the king announces, "Anyone who can draw out a spider's 
thread four fathoms long shall receive four thousand," one man who is too 
clever breaks the spider's thread here and there by pulling it hurriedly, and 
another who is not clever enough does not dare to touch it with his hand for fear 
of breaking it, but a clever man pulls it out starting from the end with a balanced 
effort, winds it on a stick, and so wins the prize. 

70. Again, a too clever [137] skipper hoists full sails in a high wind and sends his 
ship adrift, and another, not clever enough skipper, lowers his sails in a light wind 
and remains where he is, but a clever skipper hoists full sails in a light wind, takes 
in half his sails in a high wind, and so arrives safely at his desired destination. 

71. Again, when a teacher says, "Anyone who fills the oil- tube without spilling 
any oil will win a prize," one who is too clever fills it hurriedly out of greed for 
the prize, and he spills the oil, and another who is not clever enough does not 
dare to pour the oil at all for fear of spilling it, but one who is clever fills it with 
a balanced effort and wins the prize. 

72. Just as in these five similes, so too when the sign arises, one bhikkhu forces 
his energy, thinking "I shall soon reach absorption." Then his mind lapses into 



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agitation because of his mind's over-exerted energy and he is prevented from 
reaching absorption. Another who sees the defect in over-exertion slacks off his 
energy, thinking, "What is absorption to me now?" Then his mind lapses into 
idleness because of his mind's too lax energy and he too is prevented from 
reaching absorption. Yet another who frees his mind from idleness even when it 
is only slightly idle and from agitation when only slightly agitated, confronting the 
sign with balanced effort, reaches absorption. One should be like the last-named. 

73. It was with reference to this meaning that it was said above: 

"Well-controlled bees get the pollen; 

Well-balanced efforts meet to treat 

Leaves, thread, and ships, and oil-tubes too, 

Gain thus, not otherwise, the prize. 

Let him set aside then this lax 

Also this agitated state, 

Steering here his mind at the sign 

As the bee and the rest suggest". 

[Absorption in the Cognitive Series] 

74. So, while he is guiding his mind in this way, confronting the sign, [then 
knowing]: "Now absorption will succeed," there arises in him mind-door 
adverting with that same earth kasina as its object, interrupting the [occurrence 
of consciousness as] life-continuum, and evoked by the constant repeating of 
"earth, earth." After that, either four or five impulsions impel on that same object, 
the last one of which is an impulsion of the fine-material sphere. The rest are of 
the sense sphere, but they have stronger applied thought, sustained thought, 
happiness, bliss, and unification of mind than the normal ones. They are called 
"preliminary work" [consciousnesses] because they are the preliminary work 
for absorption; [138] and they are also called "access" [consciousnesses] because 
of their nearness to absorption because they happen in its neighbourhood, just 
as the words "village access" and "city access" are used for a place near to a 
village, etc.; and they are also called "conformity" [consciousnesses] because 
they conform to those that precede the "preliminary work" [consciousnesses] 
and to the absorption that follows. And the last of these is also called "change- 
of-lineage" because it transcends the limited [sense-sphere] lineage and brings 
into being the exalted [fine-material-sphere] lineage. 18 



18. "It guards the line {gam tayati), thus it is lineage {gotta). When it occurs limitedly, 
it guards the naming (abhidhana) and the recognition {buddhi) of the naming as restricted 
to a definite scope (ekamsa-visayata). For just as recognition does not take place without 
a meaning {attha) for its objective support (arammana), so naming {abhidhana) does not 
take place without what is named {abhidheyya) . So it (the gotta) is said to protect and 
keep these. But the limited should be regarded as the materiality peculiar to sense- 
sphere states, which are the resort of craving for sense desires, and destitute of the 
exalted (fine-material and immaterial) or the unsurpassed (supramundane). The exalted 
lineage is explainable in the same way" (Vism-mht 134). 



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75. But omitting repetitions, 19 then either the first is the "preliminary work," 
the second "access," the third "conformity," and the fourth, "change-of-lineage," 
or else the first is "access," the second "conformity," and the third "change-of- 
lineage." Then either the fourth [in the latter case] or the fifth [in the former case] 
is the absorption consciousness. For it is only either the fourth or the fifth that 
fixes in absorption. And that is according as there is swift or sluggish direct- 
knowledge, (cf. XXI. 117) Beyond that, impulsion lapses and the life-continuum 20 
takes over. 

76. But the Abhidhamma scholar, the Elder Godatta, quoted this text: "Preceding 
profitable states are a condition, as repetition condition, for succeeding profitable 
states" (Patth I 5). Adding, "It is owing to the repetition condition that each 
succeeding state is strong, so there is absorption also in the sixth and seventh." 

77. That is rejected by the commentaries with the remark that it is merely that 
elder's opinion, adding that, "It is only either in the fourth or the fifth 21 that there 
is absorption. Beyond that, impulsion lapses. It is said to do so because of 
nearness of the life-continuum." And that has been stated in this way after 
consideration, so it cannot be rejected. For just as a man who is running towards 
a precipice and wants to stop cannot do so when he has his foot on the edge but 
falls over it, so there can be no fixing in absorption in the sixth or the seventh 
because of the nearness to the life-continuum. That is why it should be understood 
that there is absorption only in the fourth or the fifth. 



19. See XVII.189 and note. 

20. "The intention is that it is as if the sixth and seventh impulsions had lapsed since 
impulsion beyond the fifth is exhausted. The elder's opinion was that just as the first 
impulsion, which lacks the quality of repetition, does not arouse change-of-lineage 
because of its weakness, while the second or the third, which have the quality of 
repetition, can do so because they are strong on that account, so too the sixth and 
seventh fix in absorption owing to their strength due to their quality of repetition. 
But it is unsupported by a sutta or by any teacher's statement in conformity with 
a sutta. And the text quoted is not a reason because strength due to the quality of 
repetition is not a principle without exceptions (anekantikatta); for the first volition, 
which is not a repetition, has result experienceable here and now, while the second 
to the sixth, which are repetitions, have result experienceable in future becomings" 
(Vism-mht 135). 

21. "'Either in the fourth or the fifth,' etc., is said for the purpose of concluding [the 
discussion] with a paragraph showing the correctness of the meaning already stated. — 
Herein, if the sixth and seventh impulsions are said to have lapsed because impulsion 
is exhausted, how does seventh-impulsion volition come to have result experienceable 
in the next rebirth and to be of immediate effect on rebirth? — This is not owing to 
strength got through a repetition condition. — What then? — It is owing to the difference 
in the function's position (kiriyavattha). For the function [of impulsion] has three 
positions, that is, initial, medial and final. Herein, experienceability of result in the next 
rebirth and immediateness of effect on rebirth are due to the last volition's final 
position, not to its strength ... So the fact that the sixth and seventh lapse because 
impulsion is used up cannot be objected to" (Vism-mht 135). See Table V 

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78. But that absorption is only of a single conscious moment. For there are 
seven instances in which the normal extent 22 [of the cognitive series] does not 
apply. They are in the cases of the first absorption, the mundane kinds of direct- 
knowledge, the four paths, fruition next after the path, life-continuum jhana in 
the fine-material and immaterial kinds of becoming, the base consisting of neither 
perception nor non-perception as condition for cessation [of perception and 
feeling], and the fruition attainment in one emerging from cessation. Here the 
fruition next after the path does not exceed three [consciousnesses in number]; 
[139] the [consciousnesses] of the base consisting of neither perception nor non- 
perception as condition for cessation do not exceed two [in number]; there is no 
measure of the [number of consciousnesses in the] life-continuum in the fine- 
material and immaterial [kinds of becoming]. In the remaining instances [the 
number of consciousnesses is] one only. So absorption is of a single 
consciousness moment. After that, it lapses into the life-continuum. Then the 
life-continuum is interrupted by adverting for the purpose of reviewing the 
jhana, next to which comes the reviewing of the jhana. 

[The First Jhana] 

79. At this point, "Quite secluded from sense desires, secluded from 
unprofitable things he enters upon and dwells in the first jhana, which is 
accompanied by applied and sustained thought with happiness and bliss born 
of seclusion" (Vibh 245), and so he has attained the first jhana, which abandons 
five factors, possesses five factors, is good in three ways, possesses ten 
characteristics, and is of the earth kasina. 

80. Herein, quite secluded from sense desires means having secluded himself 
from, having become without, having gone away from, sense desires. Now, this 
word quite (eva) should be understood to have the meaning of absoluteness. 
Precisely because it has the meaning of absoluteness it shows how, on the actual 
occasion of entering upon and dwelling in the first jhana, sense desires as well 
as being non-existent then are the first jhana's contrary opposite, and it also 
shows that the arrival takes place only (eva) through the letting go of sense 
desires. How? 

81. When absoluteness is introduced thus, "quite secluded from sense desires," 
what is expressed is this: sense desires are certainly incompatible with this 
jhana; when they exist, it does not occur, just as when there is darkness, there is 
no lamplight; and it is only by letting go of them that it is reached, just as the 
further bank is reached only by letting go of the near bank. That is why 
absoluteness is introduced. 

82. Here it might be asked: But why is this [word "quite"] mentioned only in 
the first phrase and not in the second? How is this, might he enter upon and 

22. "'The normal extent does not apply' here 'in the seven instances' because of the 
immeasurability of the conscious moment in some, and the extreme brevity of the 
moment in others; for 'extent' is inapplicable here in the sense of complete cognitive 
series, which is why 'in fruition next to the path,' etc., is said" (Vism mht 136). 



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dwell in the first jhana even when not secluded from unprofitable things? — It 
should not be regarded in that way. It is mentioned in the first phrase as the 
escape from them; for this jhana is the escape from sense desires since it surmounts 
the sense-desire element and since it is incompatible with greed for sense desires, 
according as it is said: "The escape from sense desires is this, that is to say, 
renunciation" (D III 275). But in the second phrase [140] the word eva should be 
adduced and taken as said, as in the passage, "Bhikkhus, only (eva) here is there 
an ascetic, here a second ascetic" (M I 63). For it is impossible to enter upon and 
dwell in jhana unsecluded also from unprofitable things, in other words, the 
hindrances other than that [sense desire]. So this word must be read in both 
phrases thus: "Quite secluded from sense desires, quite secluded from 
unprofitable things." And although the word "secluded" as a general term 
includes all kinds of seclusion, that is to say, seclusion by substitution of 
opposites, etc., and bodily seclusion, etc., 23 still only the three, namely, bodily 
seclusion, mental seclusion, and seclusion by suppression (suspension) should 
be regarded here. 

83. But this term "sense desires" should be regarded as including all kinds, 
that is to say, sense desires as object as given in the Niddesa in the passage 
beginning, "What are sense desires as object? They are agreeable visible objects 
..." (Nidd I 1), and the sense desires as defilement given there too and in the 
Vibhahga thus: "Zeal as sense desire (kama), greed as sense desire, zeal and 
greed as sense desire, thinking as sense desire, greed as sense desire, thinking 
and greed as sense desire" 24 (Nidd I 2; Vibh 256). That being so, the words "quite 
secluded from sense desires" properly mean "quite secluded from sense desires 
as object," and express bodily seclusion, while the words "secluded from 
unprofitable things" properly mean "secluded from sense desires as defilement 
or from all unprofitable things," and express mental seclusion. And in this case 
giving up of pleasure in sense desires is indicated by the first since it only 
expresses seclusion from sense desires as object, while acquisition of pleasure 

23. The five (see e.g. Patis II 220; M-a I 85) are suppression (by concentration), 
substitution of opposites (by insight), cutting off (by the path), tranquillization (by 
fruition), and escape (as Nibbana); cf. five kinds of deliverance (e.g. M-a IV 168). The 
three (see e.g. Nidd I 26; M-a II 143) are bodily seclusion (retreat), mental seclusion 
(jhana), and seclusion from the substance or circumstances of becoming (Nibbana). 

24. Here sahkappa ("thinking") has the meaning of "hankering." Chanda, kama and 
raga and their combinations need sorting out. Chanda (zeal, desire) is much used, 
neutral in colour, good or bad according to context and glossed by "desire to act"; 
technically also one of the four roads to power and four predominances. Kama (sense 
desire, sensuality) loosely represents enjoyment of the five sense pleasures (e.g. 
sense-desire sphere). More narrowly it refers to sexual enjoyment (third of the Five 
Precepts). Distinguished as subjective desire (defilement) and objective things that 
arouse it (Nidd I 1; cf. Ch. XIV, n.36). The figure "five cords of sense desire" signifies 
simply these desires with the five sense objects that attract them. Raga (greed) is the 
general term for desire in its bad sense and identical with lobha, which latter, however, 
appears technically as one of the three root-causes of unprofitable action. Raga is 
renderable also by "lust" in its general sense. Kamacchanda (lust): a technical term for 

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in renunciation is indicated by the second since it expresses seclusion from 
sense desire as defilement. 

84. And with sense desires as object and sense desires as defilement expressed 
in this way, it should also be recognized that the abandoning of the objective 
basis for defilement is indicated by the first of these two phrases and the 
abandoning of the [subjective] defilement by the second; also that the giving up 
of the cause of cupidity is indicated by the first and [the giving up of the cause] 
of stupidity by the second; also that the purification of one's occupation is 
indicated by the first and the educating of one's inclination by the second. 

This, firstly, is the method here when the words from sense desires are treated as 
referring to sense desires as object. 

85. But if they are treated as referring to sense desires as defilement, then it is 
simply just zeal for sense desires (kamacchanda) in the various forms of zeal 
(chanda), greed (raga), etc., that is intended as "sense desires" (kama) (§83, 2nd 
quotation). [141] And although that [lust] is also included by [the word] 
"unprofitable," it is nevertheless stated separately in the Vibhanga in the way 
beginning, "Herein, what are sense desires? Zeal as sense desire ..." (Vibh 256) 
because of its incompatibility with jhana. Or, alternatively, it is mentioned in the 
first phrase because it is sense desire as defilement and in the second phrase 
because it is included in the "unprofitable." And because this [lust] has various 
forms, therefore "from sense desires" is said instead of "from sense desire." 

86. And although there may be unprofitableness in other states as well, 
nevertheless only the hindrances are mentioned subsequently in the Vibhanga 
thus, "Herein, what states are unprofitable? Lust ..." (Vibh 256), etc., in order to 
show their opposition to, and incompatibility with, the jhana factors. For the 
hindrances are the contrary opposites of the jhana factors: what is meant is that 
the jhana factors are incompatible with them, eliminate them, abolish them. And 
it is said accordingly in the Petaka (Petakopadesa): "Concentration is incompatible 
with lust, happiness with ill will, applied thought with stiffness and torpor, 
bliss with agitation and worry, and sustained thought with uncertainty" (not in 
Petakopadesa). 

87. So in this case it should be understood that seclusion by suppression 
(suspension) of lust is indicated by the phrase quite secluded from sense desires, 
and seclusion by suppression (suspension) of [all] five hindrances by the phrase 
secluded from unprofitable things. But omitting repetitions, that of lust is 
indicated by the first and that of the remaining hindrances by the second. 
Similarly with the three unprofitable roots, that of greed, which has the five 
cords of sense desire (M I 85) as its province, is indicated by the first, and that of 
hate and delusion, which have as their respective provinces the various grounds 
for annoyance (A IV 408; V 150), etc., by the second. Or with the states consisting 
of the floods, etc., that of the flood of sense desires, of the bond of sense desires, of 
the canker of sense desires, of sense-desire clinging, of the bodily tie of 

the first of the five hindrances. Chanda-raga (zeal and greed) and kama-raga (greed for 
sense desires) have no technical use. 

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covetousness, and of the fetter of greed for sense desires, is indicated by the first, 
and that of the remaining floods, bonds, cankers, clingings, ties, and fetters, is 
indicated by the second. Again, that of craving and of what is associated with 
craving is indicated by the first, and that of ignorance and of what is associated 
with ignorance is indicated by the second. Furthermore, that of the eight thought- 
arisings associated with greed (XIV90) is indicated by the first, and that of the 
remaining kinds of unprofitable thought-arisings is indicated by the second. 

This, in the first place, is the explanation of the meaning of the words "quite 
secluded from sense desires, secluded from unprofitable things." 

88. So far the factors abandoned by the jhana have been shown. And now, in 
order to show the factors associated with it, which is accompanied by applied and 
sustained thought is said. [142] Herein, applied thinking (vitakkana) is applied 
thought (vitakka); hitting upon, is what is meant. 25 It has the characteristic of 
directing the mind on to an object (mounting the mind on its object). Its function 
is to strike at and thresh — for the meditator is said, in virtue of it, to have the 
object struck at by applied thought, threshed by applied thought. It is manifested 
as the leading of the mind onto an object. Sustained thinking (vicarana) is sustained 
thought (vicara); continued sustainment (anusancarana), is what is meant. It has 
the characteristic of continued pressure on (occupation with) the object. Its 
function is to keep conascent [mental] states [occupied] with that. It is manifested 
as keeping consciousness anchored [on that object]. 

89. And, though sometimes not separate, applied thought is the first impact of 
the mind in the sense that it is both gross and inceptive, like the striking of a bell. 
Sustained thought is the act of keeping the mind anchored, in the sense that it is 
subtle with the individual essence of continued pressure, like the ringing of the 
bell. Applied thought intervenes, being the interference of consciousness at the 
time of first arousing [thought], like a bird's spreading out its wings when 
about to soar into the air, and like a bee's diving towards a lotus when it is 
minded to follow up the scent of it. The behaviour of sustained thought is quiet, 
being the near non-interference of consciousness, like the bird's planing with 
outspread wings after soaring into the air, and like the bee's buzzing above the 
lotus after it has dived towards it. 

90. In the commentary to the Book of Twos 26 this is said: "Applied thought 
occurs as a state of directing the mind onto an object, like the movement of a 
large bird taking off into the air by engaging the air with both wings and 
forcing them downwards. For it causes absorption by being unified. Sustained 
thought occurs with the individual essence of continued pressure, like the bird's 
movement when it is using (activating) its wings for the purpose of keeping 

25. Uhana — "hitting upon": possibly connected with uhanati (to disturb — see M I 
243; II 193). Obviously connected here with the meaning of ahananapariyahanana 
("striking and threshing") in the next line. For the similes that follow here, see Pet 142. 

26. Of the Ariguttara Nikaya? [The original could not be traced anywhere in the 
Tipitaka, Atthakatha, and other texts contained in the digitalised Chattha Sarigayana 
edition of the Vipassana Research Institute. Dhs-a 114 quotes the same passage, but 
gives the source as atthakathayam, "in the commentary." BPS ed.] 

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hold on the air. For it keeps pressing the object 27 ". That fits in with the latter's 
occurrence as anchoring. This difference of theirs becomes evident in the first 
and second jhanas [in the fivefold reckoning]. 

91. Furthermore, applied thought is like the hand that grips firmly and sustained 
thought is like the hand that rubs, when one grips a tarnished metal dish firmly 
with one hand and rubs it with powder and oil and a woollen pad with the 
other hand. Likewise, when a potter has spun his wheel with a stroke on the 
stick and is making a dish [143], his supporting hand is like applied thought and 
his hand that moves back and forth is like sustained thought. Likewise, when one 
is drawing a circle, the pin that stays fixed down in the centre is like applied 
thought, which directs onto the object, and the pin that revolves round it is like 
sustained thought, which continuously presses. 

92. So this jhana occurs together with this applied thought and this sustained 
thought and it is called, "accompanied by applied and sustained thought" as a 
tree is called "accompanied by flowers and fruits." But in the Vibhariga the 
teaching is given in terms of a person 28 in the way beginning, "He is possessed, 
fully possessed, of this applied thought and this sustained thought" (Vibh 
257). The meaning should be regarded in the same way there too. 

93. Born of seclusion: here secludedness (vivitti) is seclusion (viveka); the meaning 
is, disappearance of hindrances. Or alternatively, it is secluded (vivitta), thus it is 
seclusion; the meaning is, the collection of states associated with the jhana is 
secluded from hindrances. "Born of seclusion" is born of or in that kind of 
seclusion. 

94. Happiness and bliss: it refreshes (plnayati), thus it is happiness (plti). It has 
the characteristic of endearing (sampiyayana). Its function is to refresh the body 
and the mind; or its function is to pervade (thrill with rapture). It is manifested 
as elation. But it is of five kinds as minor happiness, momentary happiness, 
showering happiness, uplifting happiness, and pervading (rapturous) 
happiness. 

Herein, minor happiness is only able to raise the hairs on the body. Momentary 
happiness is like flashes of lightning at different moments. Showering happiness 
breaks over the body again and again like waves on the sea shore. 

95. Uplifting happiness can be powerful enough to levitate the body and 
make it spring up into the air. For this was what happened to the Elder 
Maha-Tissa, resident at Punnavallika. He went to the shrine terrace on the 
evening of the full-moon day. Seeing the moonlight, he faced in the direction 
of the Great Shrine [at Anuradhapura], thinking, "At this very hour the four 

27. These two sentences, "So hi ekaggo hutva appeti" and "So hi arammanam anuma])ati," 
are not in Be and Ae. 

28. Puggaladhitthana — "in terms of a person"; a technical commentarial term for one 
of the ways of presenting a subject. They are dhamma-desana (discourse about 
principles), and puggala-desana (discourse about persons), both of which may be treated 
either as dhammadhitthana (in terms of principles) or puggaladhitthana (in terms of 
persons). See M-a I 24. 

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assemblies 29 are worshipping at the Great Shrine!" By means of objects 
formerly seen [there] he aroused uplifting happiness with the Enlightened 
One as object, and he rose into the air like a painted ball bounced off a 
plastered floor and alighted on the terrace of the Great Shrine. 

96. And this was what happened to the daughter of a clan in the village of 
Vattakalaka near the Girikandaka Monastery when she sprang up into the air 
owing to strong uplifting happiness with the Enlightened One as object. As her 
parents were about to go to the monastery in the evening, it seems, in order to 
hear the Dhamma [144], they told her: "My dear, you are expecting a child; you 
cannot go out at an unsuitable time. We shall hear the Dhamma and gain merit 
for you." So they went out. And though she wanted to go too, she could not well 
object to what they said. She stepped out of the house onto a balcony and stood 
looking at the Akasacetiya Shrine at Girikandaka lit by the moon. She saw the 
offering of lamps at the shrine, and the four communities as they circumambulated 
it to the right after making their offerings of flowers and perfumes; and she 
heard the sound of the massed recital by the Community of Bhikkhus. Then she 
thought: "How lucky they are to be able to go to the monastery and wander round 
such a shrine terrace and listen to such sweet preaching of Dhamma!" Seeing the 
shrine as a mound of pearls and arousing uplifting happiness, she sprang up into 
the air, and before her parents arrived she came down from the air into the shrine 
terrace, where she paid homage and stood listening to the Dhamma. 

97. When her parents arrived, they asked her, "What road did you come by?" 
She said, "I came through the air, not by the road," and when they told her, "My 
dear, those whose cankers are destroyed come through the air. But how did you 
come?" she replied: "As I was standing looking at the shrine in the moonlight a 
strong sense of happiness arose in me with the Enlightened One as its object. 
Then I knew no more whether I was standing or sitting, but only that I was 
springing up into the air with the sign that I had grasped, and I came to rest on 
this shrine terrace." 

So uplifting happiness can be powerful enough to levitate the body, make it 
spring up into the air. 

98. But when pervading (rapturous) happiness arises, the whole body is 
completely pervaded, like a filled bladder, like a rock cavern invaded by a huge 
inundation. 

99. Now, this fivefold happiness, when conceived and matured, perfects the twofold 
tranquillity, that is, bodily and mental tranquillity When tranquillity is conceived 
and matured, it perfects the twofold bliss, that is, bodily and mental bliss. When bliss 
is conceived and matured, it perfects the threefold concentration, that is, 
momentary concentration, access concentration, and absorption concentration. 

Of these, what is intended in this context by happiness is pervading happiness, 
which is the root of absorption and comes by growth into association with 
absorption. [145] 

29. The four assemblies (parisa) are the bhikkhus, bhikkhunls, laymen followers and 
laywomen followers. 

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100. But as to the other word: pleasing (sukhana) is bliss (sukha). Or alternatively: 
it thoroughly (SUtthu) devours (KHAdati), consumes (KHAnati), 30 bodily and 
mental affliction, thus it is bliss (sukha). It has gratifying as its characteristic. Its 
function is to intensify associated states. It is manifested as aid. 

And wherever the two are associated, happiness is the contentedness at 
getting a desirable object, and bliss is the actual experiencing of it when got. 
Where there is happiness there is bliss (pleasure); but where there is bliss there 
is not necessarily happiness. Happiness is included in the formations aggregate; 
bliss is included in the feeling aggregate. If a man, exhausted 31 in a desert, saw 
or heard about a pond on the edge of a wood, he would have happiness; if he 
went into the wood's shade and used the water, he would have bliss. And it 
should be understood that this is said because they are obvious on such 
occasions. 

101. Accordingly, (a) this happiness and this bliss are of this jhana, or in this 
jhana; so in this way this jhana is qualified by the words with happiness and bliss 
[and also born of seclusion]. Or alternatively: (b) the words happiness and bliss 
(pitisukham) can be taken as "the happiness and the bliss" independently, like 
"the Dhamma and the Discipline" (dhammavinaya), and so then it can be taken 
as seclusion-born happiness-and-bliss of this jhana, or in this jhana; so in this 
way it is the happiness and bliss [rather than the jhana] that are born of seclusion. 
For just as the words "born of seclusion" can [as at (a)] be taken as qualifying the 
word "jhana," so too they can be taken here [as at (b)] as qualifying the expression 
"happiness and bliss," and then that [total expression] is predicated of this 
[jhana]. So it is also correct to call "happiness-and-bliss born-of-seclusion" a 
single expression. In the Vibhanga it is stated in the way beginning, "This bliss 
accompanied by this happiness" (Vibh 257). The meaning should be regarded 
in the same way there too. 

102. First jhana: this will be explained below (§119). 

Enters upon (upasampajja): arrives at; reaches, is what is meant; or else, taking 
it as "makes enter" (upasampadayitva), then producing, is what is meant. In the 
Vibhanga this is said: "'Enters upon': the gaining, the regaining, the reaching, 
the arrival at, the touching, the realizing of, the entering upon (upasampada, the 
first jhana" (Vibh 257), the meaning of which should be regarded in the same 
way. 

103. And dwells in (viharati): by becoming possessed of jhana of the kind 
described above through dwelling in a posture favourable to that [jhana], he 
produces a posture, a procedure, a keeping, an enduring, a lasting, a behaviour, 
a dwelling, of the person. For this is said in the Vibhanga: "'Dwells in': poses, 

30. For this word play see also XVII.48. Khanati is only given in normal meaning of 
"to dig" in PED. There seems to be some confusion of meaning with khayati (to 
destroy) here, perhaps suggested by khadati (to eat). This suggests a rendering here 
and in Ch. XVII of "to consume" which makes sense. Glossed by avadariyati, to break 
or dig: not in PED. See CPD "avadarana. " 

31. Kantara-khinna — "exhausted in a desert"; khinna is not in PED. 

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proceeds, keeps, endures, lasts, behaves, dwells; [146] hence 'dwells' is said" 
(Vibh 252). 

104. Now, it was also said above which abandons five factors, possesses five factors 
(§79; cf. M I 294). Herein, the abandoning of the five factors should be understood 
as the abandoning of these five hindrances, namely, lust, ill will, stiffness and 
torpor, agitation and worry, and uncertainty; for no jhana arises until these have 
been abandoned, and so they are called the factors of abandoning. For although 
other unprofitable things too are abandoned at the moment of jhana, still only 
these are specifically obstructive to jhana. 

105. The mind affected through lust by greed for varied objective fields does 
not become concentrated on an object consisting in unity, or being overwhelmed 
by lust, it does not enter on the way to abandoning the sense-desire element. 
When pestered by ill will towards an object, it does not occur uninterruptedly. 
When overcome by stiffness and torpor, it is unwieldy. When seized by agitation 
and worry, it is unquiet and buzzes about. When stricken by uncertainty, it fails 
to mount the way to accomplish the attainment of jhana. So it is these only that 
are called factors of abandoning because they are specifically obstructive to 
jhana. 

106. But applied thought directs the mind onto the object; sustained thought 
keeps it anchored there. Happiness produced by the success of the effort refreshes 
the mind whose effort has succeeded through not being distracted by those 
hindrances; and bliss intensifies it for the same reason. Then unification aided 
by this directing onto, this anchoring, this refreshing and this intensifying, 
evenly and rightly centres (III. 3) the mind with its remaining associated states 
on the object consisting in unity. Consequently, possession of five factors should 
be understood as the arising of these five, namely, applied thought, sustained 
thought, happiness, bliss and unification of mind. 

107. For it is when these are arisen that jhana is said to be arisen, which is why 
they are called the five factors of possession. Therefore it should not be assumed 
that the jhana is something other which possesses them. But just as "The army 
with the four factors" (Vin IV 104) and "Music with the five factors" (M-a II 300) 
and "The path with the eight factors (eightfold path)" are stated simply in terms 
of their factors, so this too [147] should be understood as stated simply in terms 
of its factors, when it is said to "have five factors" or "possess five factors." 

108. And while these five factors are present also at the moment of access and 
are stronger in access than in normal consciousness, they are still stronger here 
than in access and acquire the characteristic of the fine-material sphere. For 
applied thought arises here directing the mind on to the object in an extremely 
lucid manner, and sustained thought does so pressing the object very hard, and 
the happiness and bliss pervade the entire body. Hence it is said: "And there is 
nothing of his whole body not permeated by the happiness and bliss born of 
seclusion" (D I 73). And unification too arises in the complete contact with the 
object that the surface of a box's lid has with the surface of its base. This is how 
they differ from the others. 



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109. Although unification of mind is not actually listed among these factors 
in the [summary] version [beginning] "which is accompanied by applied and 
sustained thought" (Vibh 245), nevertheless it is mentioned [later] in the 
Vibhanga as follows: "'Jhana': it is applied thought, sustained thought, 
happiness, bliss, unification" (Vibh 257), and so it is a factor too; for the intention 
with which the Blessed One gave the summary is the same as that with which he 
gave the exposition that follows it. 

110. Is good in three ways, possesses ten characteristics (§79): the goodness in three 
ways is in the beginning, middle, and end. The possession of the ten characteristics 
should be understood as the characteristics of the beginning, middle, and end, 
too. Here is the text: 

111. "Of the first jhana, purification of the way is the beginning, intensification 
of equanimity is the middle, and satisfaction is the end. 

"'Of the first jhana, purification of the way is the beginning': how many 
characteristics has the beginning? The beginning has three characteristics: the 
mind is purified of obstructions to that [jhana]; because it is purified the mind 
makes way for the central [state of equilibrium, which is the] sign of serenity; 
because it has made way the mind enters into that state. And it is since the mind 
becomes purified of obstructions and, through being purified, makes way for the 
central [state of equilibrium, which is the] sign of serenity and, having made way, 
enters into that state, that the purification of the way is the beginning of the first 
jhana. These are the three characteristics of the beginning. Hence it is said: 'The first 
jhana is good in the beginning which possesses three characteristics.' [148] 

112. '"Of the first jhana intensification of equanimity is the middle': how many 
characteristics has the middle? The middle has three characteristics. He [now] 
looks on with equanimity at the mind that is purified; he looks on with equanimity 
at it as having made way for serenity; he looks on with equanimity at the 
appearance of unity 32 And in that he [now] looks on with equanimity at the 
mind that is purified and looks on with equanimity at it as having made way for 
serenity and looks on with equanimity at the appearance of unity, that 
intensification of equanimity is the middle of the first jhana. These are the three 
characteristics of the middle. Hence it is said: 'The first jhana is good in the 
middle which possesses three characteristics.' 

113. "'Of the first jhana satisfaction is the end': how many characteristics has 
the end? The end has four characteristics. The satisfaction in the sense that there 
was non-excess of any of the states arisen therein, and the satisfaction in the 
sense that the faculties had a single function, and the satisfaction in the sense 



32. Four unities (ekatta) are given in the preceding paragraph of the same Patisambhida 
ref.: "The unity consisting in the appearance of relinquishment in the act of giving, which 
is found in those resolved upon generosity (giving up); the unity consisting in the 
appearance of the sign of serenity which is found in those who devote themselves to the 
higher consciousness; the unity consisting in the appearance of the characteristic of fall, 
which is found in those with insight; the unity consisting in the appearance of cessation, 
which is found in noble persons" (Patis I 167). The second is meant here. 



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that the appropriate energy was effective, and the satisfaction in the sense of 
repetition, are the satisfaction in the end of the first jhana. These are the four 
characteristics of the end. Hence it is said: 'The first jhana is good in the end 
which possesses four characteristics'" (Patis I 167-68). 

114. Herein, purification of the way is access together with its concomitants. 
Intensification of equanimity is absorption. Satisfaction is reviewing. So some 
comment. 33 But it is said in the text, "The mind arrived at unity enters into 
purification of the way, is intensified in equanimity, and is satisfied by knowledge" 
(Patis I 167), and therefore it is from the standpoint within actual absorption 
that purification of the way firstly should be understood as the approach, with 
intensification of equanimity as the function of equanimity consisting in specific 
neutrality, and satisfaction as the manifestation of clarifying knowledge's function 
in accomplishing non-excess of states. How? 

115. Firstly, in a cycle [of consciousness] in which absorption arises the mind 
becomes purified from the group of defilements called hindrances that are an 
obstruction to jhana. Being devoid of obstruction because it has been purified, it 
makes way for the central [state of equilibrium, which is the] sign of serenity. 
Now, it is the absorption concentration itself occurring evenly that is called 
the sign of serenity . But the consciousness immediately before that [149] reaches 
that state by way of change in a single continuity (cf. XXII. 1-6), and so it is 
said that it makes way for the central [state of equilibrium, which is the] sign of 
serenity. And it is said that it enters into that state by approaching it through 
having made way for it. That is why in the first place purification of the way, 
while referring to aspects existing in the preceding consciousness, should 
nevertheless be understood as the approach at the moment of the first jhana's 
actual arising. 

116. Secondly, when he has more interest in purifying, since there is no need to 
re-purify what has already been purified thus, it is said that he looks on with 
equanimity at the mind that is purified. And when he has no more interest in 
concentrating again what has already made way for serenity by arriving at the 
state of serenity, it is said that he looks on with equanimity at it as having made way 
for serenity. And when he has no more interest in again causing appearance of 
unity in what has already appeared as unity through abandonment of its 
association with defilement in making way for serenity, it is said that he looks on 
with equanimity at the appearance of unity. That is why intensification of equanimity 
should be understood as the function of equanimity that consists in specific 
neutrality. 

117. And lastly, when equanimity was thus intensified, the states called 
concentration and understanding produced there, occurred coupled together 
without either one exceeding the other. And also the [five] faculties beginning 
with faith occurred with the single function (taste) of deliverance owing to 
deliverance from the various defilements. And also the energy appropriate to 
that, which was favourable to their state of non-excess and single function, was 

33. "The inmates of the Abhayagiri Monastery in Anuradhapura" (Vism-mht 144). 

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effective. And also its repetition occurs at that moment. 34 Now, all these [four] 
aspects are only produced because it is after seeing with knowledge the various 
dangers in defilement and advantages in cleansing that satisfiedness, 
purifiedness and clarifiedness ensue accordingly. That is the reason why it was 
said that satisfaction should be understood as the manifestation of clarifying 
knowledge's function in accomplishing non-excess, etc., of states (§114). 

118. Herein, satisfaction as a function of knowledge is called "the end" since 
the knowledge is evident as due to onlooking equanimity, according as it is 
said: "He looks on with complete equanimity at the mind thus exerted; then the 
understanding faculty is outstanding as understanding due to equanimity. 
Owing to equanimity the mind is liberated from the many sorts of defilements; 
then the understanding faculty is outstanding as understanding due to 
liberation. Because of being liberated these states come to have a single function; 
then [the understanding faculty is outstanding as understanding due to] 
development in the sense of the single function" 35 (Patis II 25). 

119. Now, as to the words and so he has attained the first jhana ... of the earth kasina 
(§79): Here it is first because it starts a numerical series; [150] also it is first 
because it arises first. It is called jhana because of lighting (upanijjhana) the 
object and because of burning up (jhapana) opposition (Patis I 49). The disk of 
earth is called earth kasina (pathavlkasina — lit. "earth universal") in the sense of 
entirety 36 and the sign acquired with that as its support and also the jhana 
acquired in the earth-kasina sign are so called too. So that jhana should be 
understood as of the earth kasina in this sense, with reference to which it was said 
above "and so he has attained to the first jhana ... of the earth kasina." 

120. When it has been attained in this way, the mode of its attainment must be 
discerned by the meditator as if he were a hair-splitter or a cook. For when a very 
skilful archer, who is working to split a hair, actually splits the hair on one 
occasion, he discerns the modes of the position of his feet, the bow, the bowstring, 
and the arrow thus: "I split the hair as I stood thus, with the bow thus, the 
bowstring thus, the arrow thus." From then on he recaptures those same modes 
and repeats the splitting of the hair without fail. So too the meditator must 
discern such modes as that of suitable food, etc., thus: "I attained this after 
eating this food, attending on such a person, in such a lodging, in this posture 
at this time." In this way, when that [absorption] is lost, he will be able to recapture 
those modes and renew the absorption, or while familiarizing himself with it he 
will be able to repeat that absorption again and again. 

121. And just as when a skilled cook is serving his employer, he notices 
whatever he chooses to eat and from then on brings only that sort and so obtains 

34. '"Its': of that jhana consciousness. 'At that moment': at the moment of dissolution; 
for when the moment of arising is past, repetition occurs starting with the moment of 
presence" (Vism-mht 145). A curious argument; see §182. 

35. The quotation is incomplete and the end should read, "... ekarasatthena 
bhavanavasena pannavasena pannindriyam adhimattam hoti." 

36. "In the sense of the jhana's entire object. It is not made its partial object" (Vism-mht 147). 



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a reward, so too this meditator discerns such modes as that of the food, etc., at the 
time of the attaining, and he recaptures them and re-obtains absorption each 
time it is lost. So he must discern the modes as a hair-splitter or a cook does. 

122. And this has been said by the Blessed One: "Bhikkhus, suppose a wise, 
clever, skilful cook set various kinds of sauces before a king or a king's minister, 
such as sour, bitter, sharp, [151] sweet, peppery and unpeppery salty and unsalty 
sauces; then the wise, clever, skilful cook learned his master's sign thus 'today 
this sauce pleased my master' or 'he held out his hand for this one' or 'he took 
a lot of this one' or 'he praised this one' or 'today the sour kind pleased my 
master' or 'he held out his hand for the sour kind' or 'he took a lot of the sour 
kind' or 'he praised the sour kind' ... or 'he praised the unsalty kind'; then the 
wise, clever, skilful cook is rewarded with clothing and wages and presents. 
Why is that? Because that wise, clever, skilful cook learned his master's sign in 
this way. So too, bhikkhus, here a wise, clever, skilful bhikkhu dwells 
contemplating the body as a body . . . He dwells contemplating feelings as feelings 
... consciousness as consciousness ... mental objects as mental objects, ardent, 
fully aware and mindful, having put away covetousness and grief for the world. 
As he dwells contemplating mental objects as mental objects, his mind becomes 
concentrated, his defilements are abandoned. He learns the sign of that. Then 
that wise, clever, skilful bhikkhu is rewarded with a happy abiding here and 
now, he is rewarded with mindfulness and full awareness. Why is that? Because 
that wise, clever, skilful bhikkhu learned his consciousness's sign" (S V 151-52). 

123. And when he recaptures those modes by apprehending the sign, he just 
succeeds in reaching absorption, but not in making it last. It lasts when it is 
absolutely purified from states that obstruct concentration. 

124. When a bhikkhu enters upon a jhana without [first] completely 
suppressing lust by reviewing the dangers in sense desires, etc., and without 
[first] completely tranquillizing bodily irritability 37 by tranquillizing the body, 
and without [first] completely removing stiffness and torpor by bringing to 
mind the elements of initiative, etc., (§55), and without [first] completely 
abolishing agitation and worry by bringing to mind the sign of serenity, etc., 
[152] and without [first] completely purifying his mind of other states that 
obstruct concentration, then that bhikkhu soon comes out of that jhana again, 
like a bee that has gone into an unpurified hive, like a king who has gone into an 
unclean park. 

125. But when he enters upon a jhana after [first] completely purifying his 
mind of states that obstruct concentration, then he remains in the attainment 
even for a whole day, like a bee that has gone into a completely purified hive, like 
a king who has gone into a perfectly clean park. Hence the Ancients said: 

37. Kaya-dutthitlla — "bodily irritability": explained here as "bodily disturbance 
(daratha), excitement of the body (kaya-saraddhata)" by Vism-mht (p.148); here it 
represents the hindrance of ill will; cf. M III 151, 159, where commented on as kayalasiya — 
"bodily inertia" (M-a IV 202, 208). PED, only gives meaning of "wicked, lewd" for 
dutthulla, for which meaning see e.g. A I 88, Vin-a 528; cf. IX.69. 



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"So let him dispel any sensual lust, and resentment, 
Agitation as well, and then torpor, and doubt as the fifth; 
There let him find joy with a heart that is glad in seclusion, 
Like a king in a garden where all and each corner is clean." 

126. So if he wants to remain long in the jhana, he must enter upon it after 
[first] purifying his mind from obstructive states. 

[Extension of the Sign] 

In order to perfect the development of consciousness he should besides extend 
the counterpart sign according as acquired. Now, there are two planes for 
extension, namely, access and absorption; for it is possible to extend it on reaching 
access and on reaching absorption. But the extending should be done 
consistently in one [or the other], which is why it was said "he should besides 
extend the counterpart sign according as acquired." 

127. The way to extend it is this. The meditator should not extend the sign as a 
clay bowl or a cake or boiled rice or a creeper or a piece of cloth is extended. He 
should first delimit with his mind successive sizes for the sign, according as 
acquired, that is to say, one finger, two fingers, three fingers, four fingers, and 
then extend it by the amount delimited, just as a ploughman delimits with the 
plough the area to be ploughed and then ploughs within the area delimited, or 
just as bhikkhus fixing a boundary first observe the marks and then fix it. He 
should not, in fact, extend it without having delimited [the amount it is to be 
extended by]. After that has been done, he can further extend it, doing so by 
delimiting successive boundaries of, say, a span, a ratana (=2 spans), the veranda, 
the surrounding space, 38 the monastery, and the boundaries of the village, the 
town, the district, the kingdom and the ocean, [153] making the extreme limit 
the world-sphere or even beyond. 

128. Just as young swans first starting to use their wings soar a little distance 
at a time, and by gradually increasing it eventually reach the presence of the 
moon and sun, so too when a bhikkhu extends the sign by successive 
delimitations in the way described, he can extend it up to the limit of the world- 
sphere or even beyond. 

129. Then that sign [appears] to him like an ox hide stretched out with a 
hundred pegs 39 over the earth's ridges and hollows, river ravines, tracts of scrub 
and thorns, and rocky inequalities (see M III 105) in any area to which it has 
been extended. 



38. For pamukha — "veranda" see n. 2 above. Parivena — "surrounding space": this 
meaning, not given in PED, is brought out clearly in XI. 7. 

39. Samabbhahata — "stretch flat": not in this sense in PED. This word replaces the 
word suvihata used at M III 105 where this clause is borrowed from. At XI. 92, the same 
word (apparently in another sense) is glossed by pellana = "pushing" (not in PED) at 
Vism-mht 362. M-a IV 153 glosses suvihata with "pasaretva sutthu vihata" which 
suggests "stretched" rather than "beaten"; harati rather than hanati. 



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When a beginner has reached the first jhana in this sign, he should enter 
upon it often without reviewing it much. For the first jhana factors occur crudely 
and weakly in one who reviews it much. Then because of that they do not become 
conditions for higher endeavour. While he is endeavouring for the unfamiliar 
[higher jhana] he falls away from the first jhana and fails to reach the second. 

130. Hence the Blessed One said: "Bhikkhus, suppose there were a foolish 
stupid mountain cow, with no knowledge of fields and no skill in walking 
on craggy mountains, who thought: 'What if I walked in a direction I never 
walked in before, ate grass I never ate before, drank water I never drank before?' 
and without placing her forefoot properly she lifted up her hind foot; then 
she would not walk in the direction she never walked in before or eat the 
grass she never ate before or drink the water she never drank before, and also 
she would not get back safely to the place where she had thought, 'What if I 
walked in a direction I never walked in before ... drank water I never drank 
before?' Why is that? Because that mountain cow was foolish and stupid 
with no knowledge of fields and no skill in walking on craggy mountains. 
So too, bhikkhus, here is a certain foolish stupid bhikkhu with no knowledge 
of fields and no skill, quite secluded from sense desires, secluded from 
unprofitable things, in entering upon and dwelling in the first jhana, which 
is accompanied by applied thought and sustained thought with happiness 
and bliss born of seclusion; he does not repeat, develop or cultivate that sign 
or properly establish it. He thinks: 'What if with the subsiding of applied 
and sustained thought I entered upon and dwelt in the second jhana, which 
is ... with happiness and bliss born of concentration?' [154] He is unable 
with the subsiding of applied and sustained thought to enter upon and 
dwell in the second jhana, which is ... with happiness and bliss born of 
concentration. Then he thinks: 'What if, quite secluded from sense desires, 
secluded from unprofitable things, I entered upon and dwelt in the first jhana, 
which is ... with happiness and bliss born of seclusion?' He is unable, quite 
secluded from sense desires, secluded from unprofitable things, to enter upon 
and dwell in the first jhana which is ... with happiness and bliss born of 
seclusion. This bhikkhu is called one who has slipped between the two, who 
has fallen between the two, just like the foolish stupid mountain cow with no 
knowledge of fields and no skill in walking on craggy mountains ..." (A IV 
418-19). 

131. Therefore he should acquire mastery in the five ways first of all with 
respect to the first jhana. Herein, these are the five kinds of mastery: mastery in 
adverting, mastery in attaining, mastery in resolving (steadying the duration), 
mastery in emerging, and mastery in reviewing. "He adverts to the first jhana 
where, when, and for as long as, he wishes; he has no difficulty in adverting; 
thus it is mastery in adverting. He attains the first jhana where ... he has no 
difficulty in attaining; thus it is mastery in attaining" (Patis I 100), and all the 
rest should be quoted in detail (XXIII.27). 

132. The explanation of the meaning here is this. When he emerges from the 
first jhana and first of all adverts to the applied thought, then, next to the 



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adverting that arose interrupting the life-continuum, either four or five impulsions 
impel with that applied thought as their object. Then there are two life-continuum 
[consciousnesses]. Then there is adverting with the sustained thought as its 
object and followed by impulsions in the way just stated. When he is able to 
prolong his conscious process uninterruptedly in this way with the five jhana 
factors, then his mastery of adverting is successful. But this mastery is found at 
its acme of perfection in the Blessed One's Twin Marvel (Patis I 125), or for 
others on the aforesaid occasions. There is no quicker mastery in adverting than 
that. 

133. The venerable Maha-Moggallana's ability to enter upon jhana quickly, as 
in the taming of the royal naga-serpent Nandopananda (XII.106f.), is called 
mastery in attaining. 

134. Ability to remain in jhana for a moment consisting in exactly a finger- 
snap or exactly ten finger-snaps is called mastery in resolving (steadying the 
duration). 

Ability to emerge quickly in the same way is called mastery in emerging. 

135. The story of the Elder Buddharakkhita may be told in order to illustrate 
both these last. [155] Eight years after his admission to the Community that elder 
was sitting in the midst of thirty thousand bhikkhus possessed of supernormal 
powers who had gathered to attend upon the sickness of the Elder Maha- 
Rohanagutta at Therambatthala. He saw a royal supanna (bird) swooping down 
from the sky intending to seize an attendant royal naga-serpent as he was 
getting rice-gruel accepted for the elder. The Elder Buddharakkhita created a 
rock meanwhile, and seizing the royal naga by the arm, he pushed him inside it. 
The royal supanna gave the rock a blow and made off. The senior elder remarked: 
"Friends, if Rakkhita had not been there, we should all have been put to shame." 40 

136. Mastery in reviewing is described in the same way as mastery in adverting; 
for the reviewing impulsions are in fact those next to the adverting mentioned 
there (§132). 

137. When he has once acquired mastery in these five ways, then on emerging 
from the now familiar first jhana he can regard the flaws in it in this way: "This 
attainment is threatened by the nearness of the hindrances, and its factors are 
weakened by the grossness of the applied and sustained thought." He can 
bring the second jhana to mind as quieter and so end his attachment to the first 
jhana and set about doing what is needed for attaining the second. 

138. When he has emerged from the first jhana, applied and sustained thought 
appear gross to him as he reviews the jhana factors with mindfulness and full 
awareness, while happiness and bliss and unification of mind appear peaceful. 
Then, as he brings that same sign to mind as "earth, earth" again and again 



40. What the story is trying to illustrate is the rapidity with which the elder entered 
the jhana, controlled its duration, and emerged, which is the necessary preliminary to 
the working of a marvel (the creation of a rock in this case; XII.57). The last remark 
seems to indicate that all the others would have been too slow (see Vism-mht 150). 



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with the purpose of abandoning the gross factors and obtaining the peaceful 
factors, [knowing] "now the second jhana will arise," there arises in him 
mind-door adverting with that same earth kasina as its object, interrupting the 
life-continuum. After that, either four or five impulsions impel on that same 
object, the last one of which is an impulsion of the fine-material sphere belonging 
to the second jhana. The rest are of the sense sphere of the kinds already stated (§74). 

[The Second Jhana] 

139. And at this point, "With the stilling of applied and sustained thought he 
enters upon and dwells in the second jhana, which has internal confidence and 
singleness of mind without applied thought, without sustained thought, with 
happiness and bliss born of concentration" (Vibh 245), and so he has attained 
the second jhana, which abandons two factors, possesses three factors, is good 
in three ways, possesses ten characteristics and is of the earth kasina. [156] 

140. Herein, with the stilling of applied and sustained thought: with the stilling, 
with the surmounting, of these two, namely, applied thought and sustained 
thought; with their non-manifestation at the moment of the second jhana, is 
what is meant. Herein, although none of the states belonging to the first jhana 
exist in the second jhana — for the contact, etc. (see M III 25), in the first jhana are 
one and here they are another — it should be understood all the same that the 
phrase "with the stilling of applied and sustained thought" is expressed in this 
way in order to indicate that the attaining of the other jhanas, beginning with 
that of the second from the first, is effected by the surmounting of the gross 
factor in each case. 

141. Internal: here one's own internal 41 is intended; but that much is actually 
stated in the Vibhahga too with the words "internally in oneself" (Vibh 258). 
And since one's own internal is intended, the meaning here is this: born in 
oneself, generated in one's own continuity. 

142. Confidence: it is faith that is called confidence. The jhana "has confidence" 
because it is associated with confidence as a cloth "has blue colour" because it 
is associated with blue colour. Or alternatively, that jhana is stated to "have 
confidence" because it makes the mind confident with the confidence possessed 
by it and by stilling the disturbance created by applied and sustained thought. 
And with this conception of the meaning the word construction must be taken 
as "confidence of mind." But with the first-mentioned conception of the meaning 
the words "of mind" must be construed with "singleness 42 ". 

143. Here is the construction of the meaning in that case. Unique (eka) it comes 
up (udeti), thus it is single (ekodi); the meaning is, it comes up as the superlative, 
the best, because it is not overtopped by applied and sustained thought, for the 
best is called "unique" in the world. Or it is permissible to say that when deprived 



41. See XIV192 and note. 

42. In the Pali, sampasadanam cetaso ekodibhavam: cetaso ("of mind") comes between 
sampasadanam ("confidence") and ekodibhavam ("singleness") and so can be construed 
with either. 



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of applied and sustained thought it is unique, without companion. Or 
alternatively: it evokes (udayati) associated states, thus it is an evoker (udi); the 
meaning is, it arouses. And that is unique (eka) in the sense of best, and it is an 
evoker (udi), thus it is a unique evoker (ekodi = single). This is a term for 
concentration. Then, since the second jhana gives existingness to (bhaveti), 
augments, this single [thing], it "gives singleness" (ekodibhava) . But as this 
single [thing] is a mind's, not a being's or a soul's, so singleness of mind is said. 

144. It might be asked: But does not this faith exist in the first jhana too, and 
also this concentration with the name of the "single [thing]?" Then why is only 
this second jhana said to have confidence and singleness of mind? — It may be 
replied as follows: It is because that first jhana [157] is not fully confident owing 
to the disturbance created by applied and sustained thought, like water ruffled 
by ripples and wavelets. That is why, although faith does exist in it, it is not 
called "confidence." And there too concentration is not fully evident because of 
the lack of full confidence. That is why it is not called "singleness" there. But in 
this second jhana faith is strong, having got a footing in the absence of the 
impediments of applied and sustained thought; and concentration is also 
evident through having strong faith as its companion. That may be understood 
as the reason why only this jhana is described in this way. 

145. But that much is actually stated in the Vibhanga too with the words: 
"'Confidence' is faith, having faith, trust, full confidence. 'Singleness of mind' 
is steadiness of consciousness ... right concentration" (Vibh 258). And this 
commentary on the meaning should not be so understood as to conflict with the 
meaning stated in that way, but on the contrary so as to agree and concur with it. 

146. Without applied thought, without sustained thought: since it has been 
abandoned by development, there is no applied thought in this, or of this, [jhana], 
thus it is without applied thought. The same explanation applies to sustained 
thought. Also it is said in the Vibhanga: "So this applied thought and this 
sustained thought are quieted, quietened, stilled, set at rest, set quite at rest, 
done away with, quite done away with, 43 dried up, quite dried up, made an end 
of; hence it is said: without applied thought, without sustained thought" 
(Vibh 258). 

Here it may be asked: Has not this meaning already been established by the 
words "with the stilling of applied and sustained thought?" So why is it said 
again "without applied thought, without sustained thoughts?" — It may be 
replied: Yes, that meaning has already been established. But this does not indicate 
that meaning. Did we not say earlier: "The phrase 'with the stilling of applied 
and sustained thought' is expressed in this way in order to indicate that the act 
of attaining the other jhanas, beginning with that of the second from the first, is 
effected by the surmounting of the gross factor in each case?" (§140). 

147. Besides, this confidence comes about with the act of stilling, not the 
darkness of defilement, but the applied and sustained thought. And the 

43. Appita — "done away with": Appita ti vinasam gamita ("Appita" means "made to go to 
annihilation") (Vism-mht 153). This meaning, though not in PED, is given in CPD. 

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Path of Purification Part 2: Concentration (Samadhi) 

singleness comes about, not as in access jhana with the abandoning of the 
hindrances, nor as in the first jhana with the manifestation of the factors, but 
with the act of stilling the applied and sustained thought. So that [first] clause 
indicates the cause of the confidence and singleness. In the same way this jhana 
is without applied thought and without sustained thought, not as in the third 
and fourth jhanas or as in eye-consciousness, etc., with just absence, but with 
the actual act of stilling the applied and sustained thought. So that [first clause] 
also indicates the cause of the state without applied and sustained thought; it 
does not indicate the bare absence of applied and sustained thought. [158] The 
bare absence of applied and sustained thought is indicated by this [second] 
clause, namely, "without applied thought, without sustained thought." 
Consequently it needs to be stated notwithstanding that the first has already 
been stated. 

148. Born of concentration: born of the first-jhana concentration, or born of 
associated concentration, is the meaning. Herein, although the first was born of 
associated concentration too, still it is only this concentration that is quite worthy 
to be called "concentration" because of its complete confidence and extreme 
immobility due to absence of disturbance by applied and sustained thought. So 
only this [jhana] is called "born of concentration," and that is in order to 
recommend it. 

With happiness and bliss is as already explained. Second: second in numerical 
series. Also second because entered upon second. 

149. Then it was also said above which abandons two factors, possesses three 
factors (§139). Herein, the abandoning of two factors should be understood 
as the abandoning of applied thought and sustained thought. But while the 
hindrances are abandoned at the moment of the access of the first jhana, in 
the case of this jhana the applied thought and sustained thought are not 
abandoned at the moment of its access. It is only at the moment of actual 
absorption that the jhana arises without them. Hence they are called its 
factors of abandoning. 

150. Its possession of three factors should be understood as the arising of the 
three, that is, happiness, bliss, and unification of mind. So when it is said in the 
Vibhahga, "'Jhana': confidence, happiness, bliss, unification of mind" (Vibh 
258), this is said figuratively in order to show that jhana with its equipment. But, 
excepting the confidence, this jhana has literally three factors qua factors that 
have attained to the characteristic of lighting (see §119), according as it is said: 
"What is jhana of three factors on that occasion? It is happiness, bliss, unification 
of mind" (Vibh 263). 

The rest is as in the case of the first jhana. 

151. Once this has been obtained in this way, and he has mastery in the five 
ways already described, then on emerging from the now familiar second jhana 
he can regard the flaws in it thus: "This attainment is threatened by the nearness 
of applied and sustained thought; 'Whatever there is in it of happiness, of mental 
excitement, proclaims its grossness' (D I 37), and its factors are weakened by the 
grossness of the happiness so expressed." He can bring the third jhana to mind 

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as quieter and so end his attachment to the second jhana and set about doing 
what is needed for attaining the third. 

152. When he has emerged from the second jhana [159] happiness appears 
gross to him as he reviews the jhana factors with mindfulness and full awareness, 
while bliss and unification appear peaceful. Then as he brings that same sign to 
mind as "earth, earth" again and again with the purpose of abandoning the 
gross factor and obtaining the peaceful factors, [knowing] "now the third jhana 
will arise," there arises in him mind-door adverting with that same earth kasina 
as its object, interrupting the life-continuum. After that, either four or five 
impulsions impel on that same object, the last one of which is an impulsion of 
the fine-material sphere belonging to the third jhana. The rest are of the kinds 
already stated (§74). 

[The Third Jhana] 

153. And at this point, "With the fading away of happiness as well he dwells 
in equanimity, and mindful and fully aware, he feels bliss with his body; he 
enters upon and dwells in the third jhana, on account of which the Noble Ones 
announce: 'He dwells in bliss who has equanimity and is mindful' (Vibh 245), 
and so he has attained the third jhana, which abandons one factor, possesses 
two factors, is good in three ways, possesses ten characteristics, and is of the 
earth kasina. 

154 Herein, with the fading away of happiness as well {pitiya ca virago): fading 
away is distaste for, or surmounting of, happiness of the kind already described. 
But the words "as well" {ca) between the two [words pitiya and virago] have the 
meaning of a conjunction; 44 they conjoin [to them] either the word "stilling" or 
the expression "the stilling of applied and sustained thought" [in the description 
of the second jhana]. Herein, when taken as conjoining "stilling" the 
construction to be understood is "with the fading away and, what is more, with 
the stilling, of happiness." With this construction "fading away" has the 
meaning of distaste; so the meaning can be regarded as "with distaste for, and 
with the stilling of, happiness." But when taken as conjoining the words "stilling 
of applied and sustained thought," then the construction to be understood is 
"with the fading of happiness and, further, with the stilling of applied and 
sustained thought." With this construction "fading away" has the meaning of 
surmounting; so this meaning can be regarded as "with the surmounting of 
happiness and with the stilling of applied and sustained thought." 

155. Of course, applied and sustained thought have already been stilled in the 
second jhana, too. However, this is said in order to show the path to this third 
jhana and in order to recommend it. For when "with the stilling of applied and 
sustained thought" is said, it is declared that the path to this jhana is necessarily 
by the stilling of applied and sustained thought. And just as, although mistaken 
view of individuality, etc., are not abandoned in the attaining of the third noble 
path [but in the first], yet when it is recommended by describing their 

44. Sampindana — "conjunction": gram, term for the word ca (and). This meaning not 
given in PED. Cf. M-a 1 40. 

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abandonment thus, "With the abandoning of the five lower fetters" (A I 232), 
[160] then it awakens eagerness in those trying to attain that third noble path — 
so too, when the stilling of applied and sustained thought is mentioned, though 
they are not actually stilled here [but in the second], this is a recommendation. 
Hence the meaning expressed is this: "With the surmounting of happiness and 
with the stilling of applied and sustained thought." 

156. He dwells in equanimity: it watches [things] as they arise (UPApattito 
IKKHATI), thus it is equanimity (upekkha — or onlooking); it sees fairly, sees without 
partiality (a-pakkha-patita), is the meaning. A possessor of the third jhana is said 
to "dwell in equanimity" since he possesses equanimity that is clear, abundant 
and sound. 

Equanimity is of ten kinds; six-factored equanimity, equanimity as a divine 
abiding, equanimity as an enlightenment factor, equanimity of energy, 
equanimity about formations, equanimity as a feeling, equanimity about insight, 
equanimity as specific neutrality, equanimity of jhana and equanimity of 
purification. 

157. Herein, six factored equanimity is a name for the equanimity in one whose 
cankers are destroyed. It is the mode of non-abandonment of the natural state of 
purity when desirable or undesirable objects of the six kinds come into focus in 
the six doors described thus: "Here a bhikkhu whose cankers are destroyed is 
neither glad nor sad on seeing a visible object with the eye: he dwells in 
equanimity, mindful and fully aware" (A III 279). 

158. Equanimity as a divine abiding is a name for equanimity consisting in the 
mode of neutrality towards beings described thus: "He dwells intent upon one 
quarter with his heart endued with equanimity" (D I 251). 

159. Equanimity as an enlightenment factor is a name for equanimity consisting 
in the mode of neutrality in conascent states described thus: "He develops the 
equanimity enlightenment factor depending on relinquishment" (M I 11). 

160. Equanimity of energy is a name for the equanimity otherwise known as 
neither over-strenuous nor over-lax energy described thus: "From time to time he 
brings to mind the sign of equanimity" (A I 257). 

161. Equanimity about formations is a name for equanimity consisting in 
neutrality about apprehending reflexion and composure regarding the 
hindrances, etc., described thus: "How many kinds of equanimity about 
formations arise through concentration? How many kinds of equanimity about 
formations arise through insight? Eight kinds of equanimity about formations 
arise through concentration. Ten kinds of equanimity about formations arise 
through insight" 45 (Patis I 64). [161] 



45. The "eight kinds" are those connected with the eight jhanas, the "ten kinds" 
those connected with the four paths, the four fruitions, the void liberation, and the 
signless liberation. 



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162. Equanimity as a feeling is a name for the equanimity known as neither- 
pain-nor-pleasure described thus: "On the occasion on which a sense-sphere 
profitable consciousness has arisen accompanied by equanimity" (Dhs §156). 

163. Equanimity about insight is a name for equanimity consisting in neutrality 
about investigation described thus: "What exists, what has become, that he 
abandons, and he obtains equanimity" (M II 264-65, A IV 70f). 

164. Equanimity as specific neutrality is a name for equanimity consisting in the 
equal efficiency of conascent states; it is contained among the "or-whatever 
states" beginning with zeal (XIV133; Dhs-a 132). 

165. Equanimity of jhana is a name for equanimity producing impartiality 
towards even the highest bliss described thus: "He dwells in equanimity" 
(Vibh 245). 

166. Purifying equanimity is a name for equanimity purified of all opposition, 
and so consisting in uninterestedness in stilling opposition described thus: 
"The fourth jhana, which ... has mindfulness purified by equanimity" (Vibh 245). 

167. Herein, six-factored equanimity, equanimity as a divine abiding, 
equanimity as an enlightenment factor, equanimity as specific neutrality, 
equanimity of jhana and purifying equanimity are one in meaning, that is, 
equanimity as specific neutrality. Their difference, however, is one of position, 46 
like the difference in a single being as a boy, a youth, an adult, a general, a king, 
and so on. Therefore of these it should be understood that equanimity as an 
enlightenment factor, etc., are not found where there is six-factored equanimity; 
or that six-factored equanimity, etc., are not found where there is equanimity as 
an enlightenment factor. 

And just as these have one meaning, so also equanimity about formations 
and equanimity about insight have one meaning too; for they are simply 
understanding classed in these two ways according to function. 

168. Just as, when a man has seen a snake go into his house in the evening and 
has hunted for it with a forked stick, and then when he has seen it lying in the 
grain store and has looked to discover whether it is actually a snake or not, and 
then by seeing three marks 47 has no more doubt, and so there is neutrality in him 
about further investigating whether or not it is a snake, [162] so too, when a man 
has begun insight, and he sees with insight knowledge the three characteristics, 
then there is neutrality in him about further investigating the impermanence, 
etc., of formations, and that neutrality is called equanimity about insight. 

169. But just as, when the man has caught hold of the snake securely with the 
forked stick and thinks, "How shall I get rid of the snake without hurting it or 
getting bitten by it?" then as he is seeking only the way to get rid of it, there is 
neutrality in him about the catching hold of it, so too, when a man, through 
seeking the three characteristics, sees the three kinds of becoming as if burning, 



46. Avattha — "position, occasion." Not in PED; see CPD. 

47. Sovatthika-ttaya — "three marks;" cf. XXI. 49. 



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then there is neutrality in him about catching hold of formations, and that 
neutrality is called equanimity about formations. 

170. So when equanimity about insight is established, equanimity about 
formations is established too. But it is divided into two in this way according to 
function, in other words, according to neutrality about investigating and about 
catching hold. 

Equanimity of energy and equanimity as feeling are different both from each 
other and from the rest. 

171. So, of these kinds of equanimity, it is equanimity of jhana that is intended 
here. That has the characteristic of neutrality. Its function is to be unconcerned. 
It is manifested as uninterestedness. Its proximate cause is the fading away of 
happiness. 

Here it may be said: Is this not simply equanimity as specific neutrality in the 
meaning? And that exists in the first and second jhanas as well; so this clause, 
"He dwells in equanimity," ought to be stated of those also. Why is it not? — [It 
may be replied:] Because its function is unevident there since it is overshadowed 
by applied thought and the rest. But it appears here with a quite evident function, 
with head erect, as it were, because it is not overshadowed by applied thought 
and sustained thought and happiness. That is why it is stated here. 

The commentary on the meaning of the clause "He dwells in equanimity" is 
thus completed in all its aspects. 

172. Now, as to mindful and fully aware: here, he remembers (sarati), thus he is 
mindful (sata). He has full awareness (sampajanati), thus he is fully aware 
(sampajana). This is mindfulness and full awareness stated as personal attributes. 
Herein, mindfulness has the characteristic of remembering. Its function is not to 
forget. It is manifested as guarding. Full awareness has the characteristic of 
non-confusion. Its function is to investigate (judge). It is manifested as scrutiny. 

173. Herein, although this mindfulness and this full awareness exist in the 
earlier jhanas as well — for one who is forgetful and not fully aware does not 
attain even access, let alone absorption — yet, because of the [comparative] 
grossness of those jhanas, the mind's going is easy [there], like that of a man on 
[level] ground, and so the functions of mindfulness and full awareness are not 
evident in them. [163] But it is only stated here because the subtlety of this jhana, 
which is due to the abandoning of the gross factors, requires that the mind's 
going always includes the functions of mindfulness and full awareness, like 
that of a man on a razor's edge. 

174. What is more, just as a calf that follows a cow returns to the cow when 
taken away from her if not prevented, so too, when this third jhana is led away 
from happiness, it would return to happiness if not prevented by mindfulness 
and full awareness, and would rejoin happiness. And besides, beings are greedy 
for bliss, and this kind of bliss is exceedingly sweet since there is none greater. 
But here there is non-greed for the bliss owing to the influence of the mindfulness 
and full awareness, not for any other reason. And so it should also be understood 
that it is stated only here in order to emphasize this meaning too. 



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175. Now, as to the clause he feels bliss with his body: here, although in one 
actually possessed of the third jhana there is no concern about feeling bliss, 
nevertheless he would feel the bliss associated with his mental body, and after 
emerging from the jhana he would also feel bliss since his material body would 
have been affected by the exceedingly superior matter originated by that bliss 
associated with the mental body 48 It is in order to point to this meaning that the 
words "he feels bliss with his body" are said. 

176. Now, as to the clause, that ... on account of which the Noble Ones announce: 
He dwells in bliss who has equanimity and is mindful: here it is the jhana, on 
account of which as cause, on account of which as reason, the Noble Ones, that 
is to say, the Enlightened Ones, etc., "announce, teach, declare, establish, reveal, 
expound, explain, clarify" (Vibh 259) that person who possesses the third 
jhana — they praise, is what is intended. Why? Because "he dwells in bliss who 
has equanimity and is mindful. He enters upon and dwells in that third jhana" 
(tarn ... tatiyam jhanarn upasampajja viharati) is how the construction should be 
understood here. But why do they praise him thus? Because he is worthy of 
praise. 

177. For this man is worthy of praise since he has equanimity towards the 
third jhana though it possesses exceedingly sweet bliss and has reached the 
perfection of bliss, and he is not drawn towards it by a liking for the bliss, and he 
is mindful with the mindfulness established in order to prevent the arising of 
happiness, and he feels with his mental body the undefiled bliss beloved of 
Noble Ones, cultivated by Noble Ones. Because he is worthy of praise in this way, 
it should be understood, Noble Ones praise him with the words, "He dwells in 
bliss who has equanimity and is mindful," thus declaring the special qualities 
that are worthy of praise. 

[164] Third: it is the third in the numerical series; and it is third because it is 
entered upon third. 

178. Then it was said, which abandons one factor, possesses two factors (§153): 
here the abandoning of the one factor should be understood as the abandoning 
of happiness. But that is abandoned only at the moment of absorption, as applied 
thought and sustained thought are at that of the second jhana; hence it is called 
its factor of abandoning. 

179. The possession of the two factors should be understood as the arising of 
the two, namely, bliss and unification. So when it is said in the Vibhariga, "'Jhana': 
equanimity, mindfulness, full awareness, bliss, unification of mind" (Vibh 260), 
this is said figuratively in order to show that jhana with its equipment. But, 
excepting the equanimity and mindfulness and full awareness, this jhana has 
literally only two factors qua factors that have attained to the characteristic of 
lighting (see §119), according as it is said, "What is the jhana of two factors on 
that occasion? It is bliss and unification of mind" (Vibh 264). 

The rest is as in the case of the first jhana. 

48. For consciousness-originated materiality see XX.30 ff. 

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180. Once this has been obtained in this way, and once he has mastery in the 
five ways already described, then on emerging from the now familiar third 
jhana, he can regard the flaws in it thus: "This attainment is threatened by the 
nearness of happiness; 'Whatever there is in it of mental concern about bliss 
proclaims its grossness' (D I 37; see Ch. IX, n. 20), and its factors are weakened 
by the grossness of the bliss so expressed." He can bring the fourth jhana to 
mind as quieter and so end his attachment to the third jhana and set about 
doing what is needed for attaining the fourth. 

181. When he has emerged from the third jhana, the bliss, in other words, the 
mental joy, appears gross to him as he reviews the jhana factors with mindfulness 
and full awareness, while the equanimity as feeling and the unification of mind 
appear peaceful. Then, as he brings that same sign to mind as "earth, earth" 
again and again with the purpose of abandoning the gross factor and obtaining 
the peaceful factors, [knowing] "now the fourth jhana will arise," there arises in 
him mind-door adverting with that same earth kasina as its object, interrupting 
the life-continuum. After that either four or five impulsions impel on that same 
object, [165] the last one of which is an impulsion of the fine-material sphere 
belonging to the fourth jhana. The rest are of the kinds already stated (§74). 

182. But there is this difference: blissful (pleasant) feeling is not a condition, 
as repetition condition, for neither-painful-nor-pleasant feeling, and [the 
preliminary work] must be aroused in the case of the fourth jhana with neither- 
painful-nor-pleasant feeling; consequently these [consciousnesses of the 
preliminary work] are associated with neither-painful-nor-pleasant feeling, and 
here happiness vanishes simply owing to their association with equanimity. 

[The Fourth Jhana] 

183. And at this point, "With the abandoning of pleasure and pain and with 
the previous disappearance of joy and grief he enters upon and dwells in the 
fourth jhana, which has neither-pain-nor-pleasure and has purity of mindfulness 
due to equanimity" (Vibh 245), and so he has attained the fourth jhana, which 
abandons one factor, possesses two factors, is good in three ways, possesses ten 
characteristics, and is of the earth kasina. 

184. Herein, with the abandoning of pleasure and pain: with the abandoning of 
bodily pleasure and bodily pain. With the previous: which took place before, not 
in the moment of the fourth jhana. Disappearance of joy and grief: with the previous 
disappearance of the two, that is, mental bliss (pleasure) and mental pain; with 
the abandoning, is what is meant. 

185. But when does the abandoning of these take place? At the moment of 
access of the four jhanas. For [mental] joy is only abandoned at the moment of 
the fourth-jhana access, while [bodily] pain, [mental] grief, and [bodily] bliss 
(pleasure) are abandoned respectively at the moments of access of the first, second, 
and third jhanas. So although the order in which they are abandoned is not 
actually mentioned, nevertheless the abandoning of the pleasure, pain, joy, and 
grief, is stated here according to the order in which the faculties are summarized 
in the Indriya Vibhahga (Vibh 122). 



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186. But if these are only abandoned at the moments of access of the several 
jhanas, why is their cessation said to. take place in the jhana itself in the following 
passage: "And where does the arisen pain faculty cease without remainder? 
Here, bhikkhus, quite secluded from sense desires, secluded from unprofitable 
things, a bhikkhu enters upon and dwells in the first jhana, which is . . . born of 
seclusion. It is here that the arisen pain faculty ceases without remainder ... 
Where does the arisen grief faculty [cease without remainder? ... in the second 
jhana] ... Where does the arisen pleasure faculty [cease without remainder? ... 
in the third jhana] . . . Where does the arisen joy faculty cease without remainder? 
[166] Here, bhikkhus, with the abandoning of pleasure and pain [and with the 
previous disappearance of joy and grief] a bhikkhu enters upon and dwells in 
the fourth jhana, which ... has mindfulness purified by equanimity. It is here 
that the arisen joy faculty ceases without remainder" (S V 213-15). 

It is said in that way there referring to reinforced cessation. For in the first 
jhana, etc., it is their reinforced cessation, not just their cessation, that takes 
place. At the moment of access it is just their cessation, not their reinforced 
cessation, that takes place. 

187. For accordingly, during the first jhana access, which has multiple 
adverting, there could be rearising of the [bodily] pain faculty 49 due to contact 
with gadflies, flies, etc. or the discomfort of an uneven seat, though that pain 
faculty had already ceased, but not so during absorption. Or else, though it has 
ceased during access, it has not absolutely ceased there since it is not quite 
beaten out by opposition. But during absorption the whole body is showered 
with bliss owing to pervasion by happiness. And the pain faculty has absolutely 
ceased in one whose body is showered with bliss, since it is beaten out then by 
opposition. 

49. "They say that with the words, 'There could be the arising of the pain faculty,' it 
is shown that since grief arises even in obtainers of jhana, it is demonstrated thereby 
that hate can exist without being a hindrance just as greed can; for grief does not arise 
without hate. Nor, they say, is there any conflict with the Patthana text to be fancied 
here, since what is shown there is only grief that occurs making lost jhana its object 
because the grief that occurs making its object a jhana that has not been lost is not 
relevant there. And they say that it cannot be maintained that grief does not arise at all 
in those who have obtained jhana since it did arise in Asita who had the eight attainments 
(Sn 691), and he was not one who had lost jhana. So they say. That is wrong because 
there is no hate without the nature of a hindrance. If there were, it would arise in fine- 
material and immaterial beings, and it does not. Accordingly when in such passages 
as, 'In the immaterial state, due to the hindrance of lust there is the hindrance of 
stiffness and torpor . . . the hindrance of agitation, the hindrance of ignorance' (Patth II 
291), ill will and worry are not mentioned as hindrances, that does not imply that they 
are not hindrances even by supposing that it was because lust, etc., were not actually 
hindrances and were called hindrances there figuratively because of resemblance to 
hindrances. And it is no reason to argue, 'it is because it arose in Asita,' since there is 
falling away from jhana with the arising of grief. The way to regard that is that when 
the jhana is lost for some trivial reason such men reinstate it without difficulty" 
(Vism-mht 158-59). 

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188. And during the second-jhana access too, which has multiple advertings, 
there could be rearising of the [mental] grief faculty, although it had already 
ceased there, because it arises when there is bodily weariness and mental 
vexation, which have applied thought and sustained thought as their condition, 
but it does not arise when applied and sustained thought are absent. When it 
arises, it does so in the presence of applied and sustained thought, and they are 
not abandoned in the second-jhana access; but this is not so in the second jhana 
itself because its conditions are abandoned there. 

189. Likewise in the third-jhana access there could be rearising of the 
abandoned [bodily] pleasure faculty in one whose body was pervaded by the 
superior materiality originated by the [consciousness associated with the] 
happiness. But not so in the third jhana itself. For in the third jhana the happiness 
that is a condition for the [bodily] bliss (pleasure) has ceased entirely. Likewise 
in the fourth-jhana access there could be re-arising of the abandoned [mental] 
joy faculty because of its nearness and because it has not been properly 
surmounted owing to the absence of equanimity brought to absorption strength. 
But not so in the fourth jhana itself. And that is why in each case (§186) the 
words "without remainder" are included thus: "It is here that the arisen pain 
faculty ceases without remainder." 

190. Here it may be asked: Then if these kinds of feeling are abandoned in the 
access in this way, why are they brought in here? It is done so that they can be 
readily grasped. For the neither-painful-nor-pleasant feeling described here by 
the words "which has neither-pain-nor-pleasure" is subtle, hard to recognize 
and not readily grasped. So just as, when a cattle-herd 50 wants to catch a refractory 
ox that cannot be caught at all by approaching it, he collects all the cattle into 
one pen [167] and lets them out one by one, and then [he says] "That is it; catch 
it," and so it gets caught as well, so too the Blessed One has collected all these 
[five kinds of feeling] together so that they can be grasped readily; for when they 
are shown collected together in this way, then what is not [bodily] pleasure 
(bliss) or [bodily] pain or [mental] joy or [mental] grief can still be grasped in 
this way: "This is neither-painful-nor-pleasant feeling." 

191. Besides, this may be understood as said in order to show the condition for 
the neither-painful-nor-pleasant mind-deliverance. For the abandoning of 
[bodily] pain, etc., are conditions for that, according as it is said: "There are four 
conditions, friend, for the attainment of the neither-painful-nor-pleasant mind- 
deliverance. Here, friend, with the abandoning of pleasure and pain and with 
the previous disappearance of joy and grief a bhikkhu enters upon and dwells 
in the fourth jhana . . . equanimity These are the four conditions for the attainment 
of the neither-painful-nor-pleasant mind-deliverance" (M I 296). 

192. Or alternatively, just as, although mistaken view of individuality, etc., 
have already been abandoned in the earlier paths, they are nevertheless 
mentioned as abandoned in the description of the third path for the purpose 
of recommending it (cf. §155), so too these kinds of feeling can be understood 

50. Gopa — "cowherd (or guardian)": not in PED. 

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as mentioned here for the purpose of recommending this jhana. Or 
alternatively, they can be understood as mentioned for the purpose of showing 
that greed and hate are very far away owing to the removal of their conditions; 
for of these, pleasure (bliss) is a condition for joy, and joy for greed; pain is a 
condition for grief and grief for hate. So with the removal of pleasure (bliss), 
etc., greed and hate are very far away since they are removed along with their 
conditions. 

193. Which has neither-pain-nor-pleasure: no pain owing to absence of pain; no 
pleasure owing to absence of pleasure (bliss). By this he indicates the third kind 
of feeling that is in opposition both to pain and to pleasure, not the mere absence 
of pain and pleasure. This third kind of feeling named neither-pain-nor-pleasure 
is also called "equanimity." It has the characteristic of experiencing what is 
contrary to both the desirable and the undesirable. Its function is neutral. Its 
manifestation is unevident. Its proximate cause should be understood as the 
cessation of pleasure (bliss). 

194. And has purity of mindfulness due to equanimity: has purity of mindfulness 
brought about by equanimity. For the mindfulness in this jhana is quite purified, 
and its purification is effected by equanimity, not by anything else. That is why 
it is said to have purity of mindfulness due to equanimity. Also it is said in the 
Vibhariga: "This mindfulness is cleared, purified, clarified, by equanimity; hence 
it is said to have purity of mindfulness due to equanimity" (Vibh 261). [168] And 
the equanimity due to which there comes to be this purity of mindfulness should 
be understood as specific neutrality in meaning. And not only mindfulness is 
purified by it here, but also all associated states. However, the teaching is given 
under the heading of mindfulness. 

195. Herein, this equanimity exists in the three lower jhanas too; but just as, 
although a crescent moon exists by day but is not purified or clear since it is 
outshone by the sun's radiance in the daytime or since it is deprived of the 
night, which is its ally owing to gentleness and owing to helpfulness to it, so 
too, this crescent moon of equanimity consisting in specific neutrality exists in 
the first jhana, etc., but it is not purified since it is outshone by the glare of the 
opposing states consisting in applied thought, etc., and since it is deprived of 
the night of equanimity-as-feeling for its ally; and because it is not purified, the 
conascent mindfulness and other states are not purified either, like the unpurified 
crescent moon's radiance by day. That is why no one among these [first three 
jhanas] is said to have purity of mindfulness due to equanimity. But here this 
crescent moon consisting in specific neutrality is utterly pure because it is 
not outshone by the glare of the opposing states consisting in applied 
thought, etc., and because it has the night of equanimity-as-feeling for its 
ally. And since it is purified, the conascent mindfulness and other states are 
purified and clear also, like the purified crescent moon's radiance. That, it 
should be understood, is why only this jhana is said to have purity of 
mindfulness due to equanimity. 

196. Fourth: it is fourth in numerical series; and it is fourth because it is entered 
upon fourth. 



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197. Then it was said, which abandons one factor, possesses two factors (§183); 
here the abandoning of the one factor should be understood as the abandoning 
of joy. But that joy is actually abandoned in the first impulsions of the same 
cognitive series (cf. §185). Hence it is called its factor of abandoning. 

The possession of the two factors should be understood as the arising of the 
two, namely, equanimity as feeling and unification of mind. 

The rest is as stated in the case of the first jhana. 

This, in the first place, is according to the fourfold reckoning of jhana. 

[The Fivefold Reckoning of Jhana] 

198. When, however, he is developing fivefold jhana, then, on emerging from 
the now familiar first jhana, he can regard the flaws in it in this way: "This 
attainment is threatened by the nearness of the hindrances, and its factors are 
weakened by the grossness of applied thought." [169] He can bring the second 
jhana to mind as quieter and so end his attachment to the first jhana and set 
about doing what is needed for attaining the second. 

199. Now, he emerges from the first jhana mindfully and fully aware; and only 
applied thought appears gross to him as he reviews the jhana factors, while the 
sustained thought, etc., appear peaceful. Then, as he brings that same sign to 
mind as "earth, earth" again and again with the purpose of abandoning the 
gross factor and obtaining the peaceful factors, the second jhana arises in him 
in the way already described. 

Its factor of abandoning is applied thought only. The four beginning with 
sustained thought are the factors that it possesses. The rest is as already stated. 

200. When this has been obtained in this way, and once he has mastery in the 
five ways already described, then on emerging from the now familiar second 
jhana he can regard the flaws in it in this way: "This attainment is threatened by 
the nearness of applied thought, and its factors are weakened by the grossness 
of sustained thought." He can bring the third jhana to mind as quieter and so 
end his attachment to the second jhana and set about doing what is needed for 
attaining the third. 

201. Now, he emerges from the second jhana mindfully and fully aware; only 
sustained thought appears gross to him as he reviews the jhana factors, while 
happiness, etc., appear peaceful. Then, as he brings that same sign to mind as 
"earth, earth" again and again with the purpose of abandoning the gross factor 
and obtaining the peaceful factors, the third jhana arises in him in the way 
already described. 

Its factor of abandoning is sustained thought only. The three beginning with 
happiness, as in the second jhana in the fourfold reckoning, are the factors that 
it possesses. The rest is as already stated. 

202. So that which is the second in the fourfold reckoning becomes the second 
and third in the fivefold reckoning by being divided into two. And those which 



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Chapter IV The Earth Kasina 

are the third and fourth in the former reckoning become the fourth and fifth in 
this reckoning. The first remains the first in each case. 

The fourth chapter called "The Description of the Earth 
Kasina" in the Treatise on the Development of Concen- 
tration in the Path of Purification composed for the purpose 
of gladdening good people. 



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Chapter V 

The Remaining Kasinas 
(Sesa-kasina-niddesa) 

[The Water Kasina] 

1. [170] Now, the water kasina comes next after the earth kasina (III. 105). Here 
is the detailed explanation. 

One who wants to develop the water kasina should, as in the case of the earth 
kasina, seat himself comfortably and apprehend the sign in water that "is either 
made up or not made up," etc.; and so all the rest should be repeated in detail 
(IV22). And as in this case, so with all those that follow [in this chapter]. We 
shall in fact not repeat even this much and shall only point out what is different. 

2. Here too, when someone has had practice in previous [lives], the sign arises 
for him in water that is not made up, such as a pool, a lake, a lagoon, or the ocean 
as in the case of the Elder Cula-Siva. The venerable one, it seems, thought to 
abandon gain and honour and live a secluded life. He boarded a ship at 
Mahatittha (Mannar) and sailed to Jambudipa (India). As he gazed at the ocean 
meanwhile, the kasina sign, the counterpart of that ocean, arose in him. 

3. Someone with no such previous practice should guard against the four 
faults of a kasina (IV24) and not apprehend the water as one of the colours, blue, 
yellow, red or white. He should fill a bowl or a four-footed water pot 1 to the brim 
with water uncontaminated by soil, taken in the open through a clean cloth 
[strainer], or with any other clear unturbid water. He should put it in a screened 
place on the outskirts of the monastery as already described and seat himself 
comfortably. He should neither review its colour nor bring its characteristic to 
mind. Apprehending the colour as belonging to its physical support, he should 
set his mind on the [name] concept as the most outstanding mental datum, and 
using any among the [various] names for water (apo) such as "rain" (ambu), 
"liquid" (udaka), "dew" (vari), "fluid" (salila), 2 he should develop [the kasina] by 
using [preferably] the obvious "water, water." 

4. As he develops it in this way, the two signs eventually arise in him in the way 
already described. Here, however, the learning sign has the appearance of moving. 
[171] If the water has bubbles of froth mixed with it, the learning sign has the 

1. Kundika — "a four-footed water pot": not in PED. 

2. English cannot really furnish five words for water. 

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same appearance, and it is evident as a fault in the kasina. But the counterpart 
sign appears inactive, like a crystal fan set in space, like the disk of a looking- 
glass made of crystal. With the appearance of that sign he reaches access jhana 
and the jhana tetrad and pentad in the way already described. 

[The Fire Kasina] 

5. Anyone who wants to develop the fire kasina should apprehend the sign in 
fire. Herein, when someone with merit, having had previous practice, is 
apprehending the sign, it arises in him in any sort of fire, not made up, as he 
looks at the fiery combustion in a lamp's flame or in a furnace or in a place for 
baking bowls or in a forest conflagration, as in the Elder Cittagutta's case. The 
sign arose in that elder as he was looking at a lamp's flame while he was in the 
Uposatha house on the day of preaching the Dhamma. 

6. Anyone else should make one up. Here are the directions for making it. He 
should split up some damp heartwood, dry it, and break it up into short lengths. 
He should go to a suitable tree root or to a shed and there make a pile in the way 
done for baking bowls, and have it lit. He should make a hole a span and four 
fingers wide in a rush mat or a piece of leather or a cloth, and after hanging it in 
front of the fire, he should sit down in the way already described. Instead of 
giving attention to the grass and sticks below or the smoke above, he should 
apprehend the sign in the dense combustion in the middle. 

7. He should not review the colour as blue or yellow, etc., or give attention to its 
characteristic as heat, etc., but taking the colour as belonging to its physical 
support, and setting his mind on the [name] concept as the most outstanding 
mental datum, and using any among the names for fire {tejo) such as "the Bright 
One" (pavaka), "the Leaver of the Black Trail" (kanhavattani), "the Knower of 
Creatures" (jataveda), "the Altar of Sacrifice" (hutasana), etc., he should develop 
[the kasina] by using [preferably] the obvious "fire, fire." 

8. As he develops it in this way the two signs eventually arise in him as already 
described. Herein, the learning sign appears like [the fire to keep] sinking down 
as the flame keeps detaching itself. [172] But when someone apprehends it in a 
kasina that is not made up, any fault in the kasina is evident [in the learning 
sign], and any firebrand, or pile of embers or ashes, or smoke appears in it. The 
counterpart sign appears motionless like a piece of red cloth set in space, like a 
gold fan, like a gold column. With its appearance he reaches access jhana and 
the jhana tetrad and pentad in the way already described. 

[The Air Kasina] 

9. Anyone who wants to develop the air kasina should apprehend the sign in 
air. And that is done either by sight or by touch. For this is said in the 
Commentaries: "One who is learning the air kasina apprehends the sign in air. 
He notices the tops of [growing] sugarcane moving to and fro; or he notices the 
tops of bamboos, or the tops of trees, or the ends of the hair, moving to and fro; or 
he notices the touch of it on the body." 



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10. So when he sees sugarcanes with dense foliage standing with tops level or 
bamboos or trees, or else hair four fingers long on a man's head, being struck by 
the wind, he should establish mindfulness in this way: "This wind is striking 
on this place." Or he can establish mindfulness where the wind strikes a part of 
his body after entering by a window opening or by a crack in a wall, and using 
any among the names for wind (vata) beginning with "wind" (vata), "breeze" 
(maluta), "blowing" (anila), he should develop [the kasina] by using [preferably] 
the obvious "air, air." 

11. Here the learning sign appears to move like the swirl of hot [steam] on rice 
gruel just withdrawn from an oven. The counterpart sign is quiet and motionless. 
The rest should be understood in the way already described. 

[The Blue Kasina] 

12. Next it is said [in the Commentaries]: "One who is learning the blue kasina 
apprehends the sign in blue, whether in a flower or in a cloth or in a colour 
element." 3 Firstly, when someone has merit, having had previous practice, the 
sign arises in him when he sees a bush with blue flowers, or such flowers spread 
out on a place of offering, or any blue cloth or gem. 

13. [173] But anyone else should take flowers such as blue lotuses, girikannika 
(morning glory) flowers, etc., and spread them out to fill a tray or a flat basket 
completely so that no stamen or stalk shows or with only their petals. Or he can 
fill it with blue cloth bunched up together; or he can fasten the cloth over the rim 
of the tray or basket like the covering of a drum. Or he can make a kasina disk, 
either portable as described under the earth kasina or on a wall, with one of the 
colour elements such as bronze-green, leaf-green, an j ana-ointment black, 
surrounding it with a different colour. After that, he should bring it to mind as 
"blue, blue" in the way already described under the earth kasina. 

14. And here too any fault in the kasina is evident in the learning sign; the 
stamens and stalks and the gaps between the petals, etc., are apparent. The 
counterpart sign appears like a crystal fan in space, free from the kasina disk. 
The rest should be understood as already described. 

[The Yellow Kasina] 

15. Likewise with the yellow kasina; for this is said: "One who is learning the 
yellow kasina apprehends the sign in yellow, either in a flower or in a cloth or in 
a colour element." Therefore here too, when someone has merit, having had 
previous practice, the sign arises in him when he sees a flowering bush or 
flowers spread out, or yellow cloth or colour element, as in the case of the Elder 
Cittagutta. That venerable one, it seems, saw an offering being made on the 
flower altar, with pattanga flowers 4 at Cittalapabbata, and as soon as he saw it the 
sign arose in him the size of the flower altar. 

3. Vanna-dhahi — "colour element" should perhaps have been rendered simply by 
"paint." The one Pali word "nlla" has to serve for the English blue, green, and sometimes 
black. 

4. Pattanga: not in PED. Asana — "altar": not in this sense in PED. 

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16. Anyone else should make a kasina, in the way described for the blue kasina, 
with kanikara flowers, etc., or with yellow cloth or with a colour element. He 
should bring it to mind as "yellow, yellow." The rest is as before. 

[The Red Kasina] 

17. Likewise with the red kasina; for this is said: "One who is learning the red 
kasina apprehends the sign in red, [174] either in a flower or in a cloth or in a 
colour element." Therefore here too, when someone has merit, having had 
previous practice, the sign arises in him when he sees a bandhujwaka (hibiscus) 
bush, etc., in flower, or such flowers spread out, or a red cloth or gem or colour 
element. 

18. But anyone else should make a kasina, in the way already described for the 
blue kasina, with jayasumana flowers or bandhujwaka or red korandaka flowers, 
etc., or with red cloth or with a colour element. He should bring it to mind as 
"red, red." The rest is as before. 

[The White Kasina] 

19. Of the white kasina it is said: "One who is learning the white kasina 
apprehends the sign in white, either in a flower or in a cloth or in a colour 
element." So firstly, when someone has merit, having had previous practice, the 
sign arises in him when he sees a flowering bush of such a kind or vassikasumana 
(jasmine) flowers, etc., spread out, or a heap of white lotuses or lilies, white cloth 
or colour element; and it also arises in a tin disk, a silver disk, and the moon's 
disk. 

20. Anyone else should make a kasina, in the way already described for the 
blue kasina, with the white flowers already mentioned, or with cloth or colour 
element. He should bring it to mind as "white, white." The rest is as before. 

[The Light Kasina] 

21. Of the light kasina it is said: "One who is learning the light kasina 
apprehends the sign in light in a hole in a wall, or in a keyhole, or in a window 
opening." So firstly, when someone has merit, having had previous practice, the 
sign arises in him when he sees the circle thrown on a wall or a floor by sunlight 
or moonlight entering through a hole in a wall, etc., or when he sees a circle 
thrown on the ground by sunlight or moonlight coming through a gap in the 
branches of a dense-leaved tree or through a gap in a hut made of closely packed 
branches. 

22. Anyone else should use that same kind of circle of luminosity just described, 
developing it as "luminosity, luminosity" or "light, light." If he cannot do so, he 
can light a lamp inside a pot, close the pot's mouth, make a hole in it and place 
it with the hole facing a wall. The lamplight coming out of the hole throws a 
circle on the wall. He should develop that [175] as "light, light." This lasts 
longer than the other kinds. 

23. Here the learning sign is like the circle thrown on the wall or the ground. The 
counterpart sign is like a compact bright cluster of lights. The rest is as before. 

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[The Limited-Space Kasina] 

24. Of the limited-space kasina it is said: "One who is learning the space 
kasina apprehends the sign in a hole in a wall, or in a keyhole, or in a window 
opening." So firstly, when someone has merit, having had previous practice, the 
sign arises in him when he sees any [such gap as a] hole in a wall. 

25. Anyone else should make a hole a span and four fingers broad in a well- 
thatched hut, or in a piece of leather, or in a rush mat, and so on. He should 
develop one of these, or a hole such as a hole in a wall, as "space, space." 

26. Here the learning sign resembles the hole together with the wall, etc., that 
surrounds it. Attempts to extend it fail. The counterpart sign appears only as a 
circle of space. Attempts to extend it succeed. The rest should be understood as 
described under the earth kasina. 5 

[General] 

27. He with Ten Powers, who all things did see, 
Tells ten kasinas, each of which can be 
The cause of fourfold and of fivefold jhana, 
The fine-material sphere's own master key. 
Now, knowing their descriptions and the way 
To tackle each and how they are developed, 
There are some further points that will repay 
Study, each with its special part to play 

28. Of these, the earth kasina is the basis for such powers as the state described 
as "Having been one, he becomes many" (D I 78), etc., and stepping or standing 
or sitting on space or on water by creating earth, and the acquisition of the bases 
of mastery (M II 13) by the limited and measureless method. 

29. The water kasina is the basis for such powers as diving in and out of the 
earth (D I 78), causing rain, storms, creating rivers and seas, making the earth 
and rocks and palaces quake (M I 253). 

5. In the Suttas the first eight kasinas are the same as those given here, and they are 
the only ones mentioned in the DhammasariganI (§160-203) and Patisambhida (Patis 
I 6). The Suttas give space and consciousness as ninth and tenth respectively (M II 14- 
15; D III 268; Netti 89, etc.). But these last two appear to coincide with the first two 
immaterial states, that is, boundless space and boundless consciousness. The light 
kasina given here as ninth does not appear in the Suttas. It is perhaps a development 
from the "perception of light" (aloka-sanna) (A II 45). The limited-space kasina given 
here as tenth has perhaps been made "limited' in order to differentiate it from the first 
immaterial state. The commentary on the consciousness kasina (M-a III 261) says 
nothing on this aspect. As to space, Vism-mht (p. 373) says: "The attainment of the 
immaterial states is not produced by means of the space kasina, and with the words 
'ending with the white kasina' (XXI.2) the light kasina is included in the white kasina." 
For description of space (akasa) see Dhs-a 325, Netti 29. Also Vism-mht (p. 393) defines 
space thus: "Wherever there is no obstruction, that is called space." Again the Majjhima 
Nikaya Tika (commenting on MN 106) remarks: "[Sense desires] are not called empty (ritta) 
in the sense that space, which is entirely devoid of individual essence, is called empty" 



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30. The fire kasina is the basis for such powers as smoking, flaming, causing 
showers of sparks, countering fire with fire, ability to burn only what one wants 
to burn (S IV 290), [176] causing light for the purpose of seeing visible objects 
with the divine eye, burning up the body by means of the fire element at the time 
of attaining Nibbana (M-a IV 196). 

31. The air kasina is the basis for such powers as going with the speed of the 
wind, causing wind storms. 

32. The blue kasina is the basis for such powers as creating black forms, causing 
darkness, acquisition of the bases of mastery by the method of fairness and 
ugliness, and attainment of the liberation by the beautiful (see M II 12) 

33. The yellow kasina is the basis for such powers as creating yellow forms, 
resolving that something shall be gold (S I 116), acquisition of the bases of 
mastery in the way stated, and attainment of the liberation by the beautiful. 

34. The red kasina is the basis for such powers as creating red forms, acquisition 
of the bases of mastery in the way stated, and attainment of the liberation by the 
beautiful. 

35. The white kasina is the basis for such powers as creating white forms, 
banishing stiffness and torpor, dispelling darkness, causing light for the purpose 
of seeing visible objects with the divine eye. 

36. The light kasina is the basis for such powers as creating luminous forms, 
banishing stiffness and torpor, dispelling darkness, causing light for the purpose 
of seeing visible objects with the divine eye. 

37. The space kasina is the basis for such powers as revealing the hidden, 
maintaining postures inside the earth and rocks by creating space inside them, 
travelling unobstructed through walls, and so on. 

38. The classification "above, below, around, exclusive, measureless" applies 
to all kasinas; for this is said: "He perceives the earth kasina above, below, around, 
exclusive, measureless" (M II 14), and so on. 

39. Herein, above is upwards towards the sky's level. Below is downwards 
towards the earth's level. Around is marked off all around like the perimeter of a 
field. For one extends a kasina upwards only, another downwards, another all 
round; or for some reason another projects it thus as one who wants to see 
visible objects with the divine eye projects light. [177] Hence "above, below, 
around" is said. The word exclusive, however, shows that anyone such state has 
nothing to do with any other. Just as there is water and nothing else in all 
directions for one who is actually in water, so too, the earth kasina is the earth 
kasina only; it has nothing in common with any other kasina. Similarly in each 
instance. Measureless means measureless intentness. He is intent upon the 
entirety with his mind, taking no measurements in this way: "This is its 
beginning, this is its middle." 

40. No kasina can be developed by any living being described as follows: 
"Beings hindered by kamma, by defilement or by kamma-result, who lack faith, 
zeal and understanding, will be incapable of entering into the certainty of 
Tightness in profitable states" (Vibh 341). 

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41. Herein, the words hindered by kamma refer to those who possess bad kamma 
entailing immediate effect [on rebirth]. 6 By defilement: who have fixed wrong 
view 7 or are hermaphrodites or eunuchs. By kamma-result: who have had a rebirth- 
linking with no [profitable] root-cause or with only two [profitable] root-causes. 
Lack faith: are destitute of faith in the Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha. Zeal: are 
destitute of zeal for the unopposed way. Understanding: are destitute of mundane 
and supramundane right view. Will be incapable of entering into the certainty of 
rightness in profitable states means that they are incapable of entering into the 
noble path called "certainty" and "rightness in profitable states." 

42. And this does not apply only to kasinas; for none of them will succeed in 
developing any meditation subject at all. So the task of devotion to a meditation 
subject must be undertaken by a clansman who has no hindrance by kamma- 
result, who shuns hindrance by kamma and by defilement, and who fosters 
faith, zeal and understanding by listening to the Dhamma, frequenting good 
men, and so on. 

The fifth chapter called "The Description of the 
Remaining Kasinas" in the Treatise on the Development 
of Concentration in the Path of Purification composed 
for the purpose of gladdening good people. 



6. The five kinds of bad kamma with immediate effect on rebirth are, in that order of 
priority: matricide, parricide, arahanticide, intentional shedding of a Buddha's blood, 
and causing a schism in the Community all of which cause rebirth in hell and remaining 
there for the remainder of the aeon (kappa), whatever other kinds of kamma may have 
been performed (M-a IV 109f.). 

7. The no-cause view, moral-inefficacy-of-action view, the nihilistic view that there is 
no such thing as giving, and so on (see DN 2). 



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Chapter VI 

Foulness as a Meditation Subject 
(Asubha-kammatthana-niddesa) 

[General Definitions] 

1. [178] Now, ten kinds of foulness, [as corpses] without consciousness, were 
listed next after the kasinas thus: the bloated, the livid, the festering, the cut up, 
the gnawed, the scattered, the hacked and scattered, the bleeding, the worm 
infested, a skeleton (III. 105). 

The bloated: it is bloated (uddhumata) because bloated by gradual dilation and 
swelling after (uddham) the close of life, as a bellows is with wind. What is 
bloated (uddhumata) is the same as "the bloated" (uddhumataka). Or alternatively, 
what is bloated (uddhumata) is vile (kucchita) because of repulsiveness, thus it is 
"the bloated" (uddhumataka). This is a term for a corpse in that particular state. 

2. The livid: what has patchy discolouration is called livid (vinila). What is 
livid is the same as "the livid" (vinllaka). Or alternatively, what is livid (vinila) is 
vile (kucchita) because of repulsiveness, thus it is "the livid" (vinllaka). 1 This is a 
term for a corpse that is reddish-coloured in places where flesh is prominent, 
whitish-coloured in places where pus has collected, but mostly blue-black (nlla), 
as if draped with blue-black cloth in the blue-black places. 

3. The festering: what is trickling with pus in broken places is festering (vipubba). 
What is festering is the same as "the festering" (vipubbaka). Or alternatively, 
what is festering (vipubba) is vile (kucchita) because of repulsiveness, thus it is 
"the festering" (vipubbaka). This is a term for a corpse in that particular state. 

4. The cut up: what has been opened up 2 by cutting it in two is called cut up 
(vicchidda). What is cut up is the same as "the cut up" (vicchiddaka). Or alternatively, 
what is cut up (vicchidda) is vile (kucchita) because of repulsiveness, thus it is 
"the cut up" (vicchiddaka). This is a term for a corpse cut in the middle. [179] 

5. The gnawed: what has been chewed here and there in various ways by dogs, 
jackals, etc., is what is gnawed (vikkhayita). What is gnawed is the same as "the 
gnawed" (vikkhayitaka). Or alternatively, what is gnawed (vikkhayita) is vile 

1. It is not possible to render such associative and alliterative derivations of meaning 
into English. They have nothing to do with the historical development of words, and 
their purpose is purely mnemonic. 

2. Apavarita — "opened up": not in PED. 

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(kucchita) because of repulsiveness, thus it is "the gnawed" (vikkhayitaka). This 
is a term for a corpse in that particular state. 

6. The scattered: what is strewed about (vividham khittam) is scattered (vikkhittam) . 
What is scattered is the same as "the scattered" (vikkhittaka). Or alternatively, 
what is scattered (vikkhitta) is vile (kucchita) because of repulsiveness, thus it is 
"the scattered" (vikkhittaka). This is a term for a corpse that is strewed here and 
there in this way: "Here a hand, there a foot, there the head" (cf. M I 58). 

7. The hacked and scattered: it is hacked, and it is scattered in the way just 
described, thus it is "hacked and scattered" (hata-vikkhittaka). This is a term for 
a corpse scattered in the way just described after it has been hacked with a knife 
in a crow's-foot pattern on every limb. 

8. The bleeding: it sprinkles (kirati), scatters, blood (lohita), and it trickles here 
and there, thus it is "the bleeding" (lohitaka). This is a term for a corpse smeared 
with trickling blood. 

9. The worm-infested: it is maggots that are called worms (puluva); it sprinkles 
worms (puluve kirati), thus it is worm-infested (puluvaka). This is a term for a 
corpse full of maggots. 

10. A skeleton: bone (atthi) is the same as skeleton (atthika). Or alternatively, 
bone (atthi) is vile (kucchita) because of repulsiveness, thus it is a skeleton (atthika). 
This is a term both for a single bone and for a framework of bones. 

11. These names are also used both for the signs that arise with the bloated, 
etc., as their support, and for the jhanas obtained in the signs. 

[The Bloated] 

12. Herein, when a meditator wants to develop the jhana called "of the bloated" 
by arousing the sign of the bloated on a bloated body, he should in the way 
already described approach a teacher of the kind mentioned under the earth 
kasina and learn the meditation subject from him. In explaining the meditation 
subject to him, the teacher should explain it all, that is, the directions for going 
with the aim of acquiring the sign of foulness, the characterizing of the 
surrounding signs, the eleven ways of apprehending the sign, the reviewing of 
the path gone by and come by, concluding with the directions for absorption. 
And when the meditator has learnt it all well, he should go to an abode of the 
kind already described and live there while seeking the sign of the bloated. 

13. Meanwhile, when he hears people saying that at some village gate or on 
some road or at some forest's edge or at the base of some rock or at the root of 
some tree [180] or on some charnel ground a bloated corpse is lying, he should 
not go there at once, like one who plunges into a river where there is no ford. 

14. Why not? Because this foulness is beset by wild beasts and non-human 
beings, and he might risk his life there. Or perhaps the way to it goes by a village 
gate or a bathing place or an irrigated field, and there a visible object of the 
opposite sex might come into focus. Or perhaps the body is of the opposite sex; 
for a female body is unsuitable for a man, and a male body for a woman. If only 
recently dead, it may even look beautiful; hence there might be danger to the life 

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Chapter VI Foulness as a Meditation Subject 

of purity. But if he judges himself thus, "This is not difficult for one like me," 
then he can go there. 

15. And when he goes, he should do so only after he has spoken to the senior 
elder of the Community or to some well-known bhikkhu. 

16. Why? Because if all his limbs are seized with shuddering at the charnel 
ground, or if his gorge rises when he is confronted with disagreeable objects 
such as the visible forms and sounds of non-human beings, lions, tigers, etc., or 
something else afflicts him, then he whom he told will have his bowl and robe 
well looked after in the monastery, or he will care for him by sending young 
bhikkhus or novices to him. 

17. Besides, robbers may meet there thinking a charnel ground a safe place for 
them whether or not they have done anything wrong. And when men chase 
them, they drop their goods near the bhikkhu and run away. Perhaps the men 
seize the bhikkhu, saying "We have found the thief with the goods," and bully 
him. Then he whom he told will explain to the men "Do not bully him; he went 
to do this special work after telling me," and he will rescue him. This is the 
advantage of going only after informing someone. 

18. Therefore he should inform a bhikkhu of the kind described and then set 
out eager to see the sign, and as happy and joyful as a warrior-noble (khattiya) 
on his way to the scene of anointing, as one going to offer libations at the hall of 
sacrifice, or as a pauper on his way to unearth a hidden treasure. And he should 
go there in the way advised by the Commentaries. 

19. For this is said: "One who is learning the bloated sign of foulness goes 
alone with no companion, with unremitting mindfulness established, with his 
sense faculties turned inwards, with his mind not turned outwards, reviewing 
the path gone by and come by. In the place where the bloated sign of foulness 
[181] has been left he notes any stone or termite-mound or tree or bush or creeper 
there each with its particular sign and in relation to the object. When he has 
done this, he characterizes the bloated sign of foulness by the fact of its having 
attained that particular individual essence, (see §84) Then he sees that the sign 
is properly apprehended, that it is properly remembered, that it is properly 
defined, by its colour, by its mark, by its shape, by its direction, by its location, by 
its delimitation, by its joints, by its openings, by its concavities, by its convexities, 
and all round. 

20. "When he has properly apprehended the sign, properly remembered it, 
properly defined it, he goes alone with no companion, with unremitting 
mindfulness established, with his sense faculties turned inwards, with his mind 
not turned outwards, reviewing the path gone by and come by. When he walks, 
he resolves that his walk is oriented towards it; when he sits, he prepares a seat 
that is oriented towards it. 

21. "What is the purpose, what is the advantage of characterizing the 
surrounding signs? Characterizing the surrounding signs has non-delusion 
for its purpose, it has non-delusion for its advantage. What is the purpose, what 
is the advantage of apprehending the sign in the [other] eleven ways? 



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Apprehending the sign in the [other] eleven ways has anchoring [the mind] for 
its purpose, it has anchoring [the mind] for its advantage. What is the purpose, 
what is the advantage of reviewing the path gone by and come by? Reviewing 
the path gone by and come by has keeping [the mind] on the track for its purpose, 
it has keeping [the mind] on the track for its advantage. 

22. "When he has established reverence for it by seeing its advantages and by 
perceiving it as a treasure and so come to love it, he anchors his mind upon that 
object: 'Surely in this way I shall be liberated from ageing and death.' Quite 
secluded from sense desires, secluded from unprofitable things he enters upon 
and dwells in the first jhana . . . [seclusion] . He has arrived at the first jhana of the 
fine-material sphere. His is a heavenly abiding and an instance of the meritorious 
action consisting in [meditative] development." (Source untraced.) 

23. So if he goes to the charnel ground to test his control of mind, let him do so 
after striking the gong or summoning a chapter. If he goes there mainly for 
[developing that] meditation subject, let him go alone with no companion, without 
renouncing his basic meditation subject and keeping it always in mind, taking 
a walking stick or a staff to keep off attacks by dogs, etc., [182] ensuring 
unremitting mindfulness by establishing it well, with his mind not turned 
outwards because he has ensured that his faculties, of which his mind is the 
sixth, are turned inwards. 

24. As he goes out of the monastery he should note the gate: "I have gone out in 
such a direction by such a gate." After that he should define the path by which he 
goes: "This path goes in an easterly direction ... westerly ... northerly ... southerly 
direction" or "It goes in an intermediate direction"; and "In this place it goes to the 
left, in this place to the right"; and "In this place there is a stone, in this a termite- 
mound, in this a tree, in this a bush, in this a creeper." He should go to the place 
where the sign is, defining in this way the path by which he goes. 

25. And he should not approach it upwind; for if he did so and the smell of 
corpses assailed his nose, his brain 3 might get upset, or he might throw up his 
food, or he might repent his coming, thinking "What a place of corpses I have 
come to!" So instead of approaching it upwind, he should go downwind. If he 
cannot go by a downwind path — if there is a mountain or a ravine or a rock or a 
fence or a patch of thorns or water or a bog in the way — then he should go 
stopping his nose with the corner of his robe. These are the duties in going. 

26. When he has gone there in this way, he should not at once look at the sign 
of foulness; he should make sure of the direction. For perhaps if he stands in a 
certain direction, the object does not appear clearly to him and his mind is not 
wieldy So rather than there he should stand where the object appears clearly 
and his mind is wieldy. And he should avoid standing to leeward or to windward 
of it. For if he stands to leeward he is bothered by the corpse smell and his mind 
strays; and if he stands to windward and non-human beings are dwelling there, 

3. This does not imply what we, now, might suppose. See the description of "brain" 
in VIII. 126 and especially VIII. 136. What is meant is perhaps that he might get a cold 
or catarrh. 

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they may get annoyed and do him a mischief. So he should move round a little 
and not stand too much to windward. [183] 

27. Then he should stand not too far off or too near, or too much towards the 
feet or the head. For if he stands too far off, the object is not clear to him, and if he 
stands too near, he may get frightened. If he stands too much towards the feet or 
the head, not all the foulness becomes manifest to him equally. So he should 
stand not too far off or too near, opposite the middle of the body, in a place 
convenient for him to look at it. 

28. Then he should characterize the surrounding signs in the way stated thus: 
"In the place where the bloated sign of foulness has been left he notes any stone 
... or creeper there with its sign" (§19). 

29. These are the directions for characterizing them. If there is a rock in the 
eye's focus near the sign, he should define it in this way: "This rock is high or 
low, small or large, brown or black or white, long or round," after which he 
should observe [the relative positions] thus: "In this place, this is a rock, this is 
the sign of foulness; this is the sign of foulness, this is a rock." 

30. If there is a termite-mound, he should define it in this way: "This is high or 
low, small or large, brown or black or white, long or round," after which he 
should observe [the relative positions] thus: "In this place, this is a termite- 
mound, this is the sign of foulness." 

31. If there is a tree, he should define it in this way: "This is a pipal fig tree or 
a banyan fig tree or a kacchaka fig tree or a kapittha fig tree; it is tall or short, small 
or large, black or white," after which he should observe [the relative positions] 
thus: "In this place, this is a tree, this is the sign of foulness." 

32. If there is a bush, he should define it in this way: "This is a sindi bush or a 
karamanda bush or a kanavlra bush or a korandaka bush; it is tall or short, small or 
large," after which he should observe [the relative positions] thus: "In this place, 
this is a bush, this is the sign of foulness." 

33. If there is a creeper, he should define it in this way: "This is a pumpkin creeper 
or a gourd creeper or a brown creeper or a black creeper or a stinking creeper," after 
which he should observe [the relative positions] thus: "In this place, this is a creeper, 
this is the sign of foulness; this is the sign of foulness, this is a creeper." 

34. Also with its particular sign and in relation to the object was said (§19); but 
that is included by what has just been said; for he "characterizes it with its 
particular sign" when he defines it again and again, and he "characterizes it in 
relation to the object" when he defines it by combining it each time in pairs thus: 
"This is a rock, this is the sign of foulness; this is the sign of foulness, this is a 
rock." 

35. Having done this, again he should bring to mind the fact that it has an 
individual essence, its own state of being bloated, which is not common to 
anything else, since it was said that he defines 4 it by the fact of its having attained 

4. Reference back to §19 requires sabhavato upalakkhati rather than sabhavato vavatthapeti, 
but so the readings have it. 

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that particular individual essence. The meaning is that it should be defined 
according to individual essence, according to its own nature, as "the inflated, 5 
the bloated." 

Having defined it in this way, he should apprehend the sign in the following six 
ways, that is to say, (1) by its colour, (2) by its mark, (3) by its shape, [184] (4) by its 
direction, (5) by its location, (6) by its delimitation. How? 

36. (1) The meditator should define it by its colour thus: "This is the body of one 
who is black or white or yellow-skinned." 

37. (2) Instead of defining it by the female mark or the male mark, he should 
define it by its mark thus: "This is the body of one who was in the first phase of 
life, in the middle phase, in the last phase." 

38. (3) By its shape: he should define it only by the shape of the bloated thus: 
"This is the shape of its head, this is the shape of its neck, this is the shape of its 
hand, this is the shape of its chest, this is the shape of its belly, this is the shape 
of its navel, this is the shape of its hips, this is the shape of its thigh, this is the 
shape of its calf, this is the shape of its foot." 

39. (4) He should define it by its direction thus: "There are two directions in this 
body, that is, down from the navel as the lower direction, and up from it as the 
upper direction." Or alternatively, he can define it thus: "I am standing in this 
direction; the sign of foulness is in that direction." 

40. (5) He should define it by its location thus: "The hand is in this location, the 
foot in this, the head in this, the middle of the body in this." Or alternatively, he 
can define it thus: "I am in this location; the sign of foulness is in that." 

41. (6) He should define it by its delimitation thus: "This body is delimited 
below by the soles of the feet, above by the tips of the hair, all round by the skin; 
the space so delimited is filled up with thirty-two pieces of corpse." Or 
alternatively, he can define it thus: "This is the delimitation of its hand, this is the 
delimitation of its foot, this is the delimitation of its head, this is the delimitation 
of the middle part of its body." Or alternatively, he can delimit as much of it as he 
has apprehended thus: "Just this much of the bloated is like this." 

42. However, a female body is not appropriate for a man or a male one for a 
woman; for the object, [namely, the repulsive aspect], does not make its 
appearance in a body of the opposite sex, which merely becomes a condition 
for the wrong kind of excitement. 6 To quote the Majjhima Commentary: "Even 



5. Vanita — "inflated": glossed by Vism-mht with suna (swollen). Not in PED in this sense. 

6. Vipphandana — "wrong kind of excitement": Vism-mht says here "Kilesa- 
paripphandanass' eva nimittam hoti ti attho (the meaning is, it becomes the sign for 
interference by (activity of) defilement" (Vism-mht 170). Phandati and vipphandati are 
both given only such meanings as "to throb, stir, twitch" and paripphandati is not in 
PED. For the sense of wrong (vi-) excitement (phandana) cf. IV89 and XIV132 and note. 
There seems to be an association of meaning between vipphara, vyapara, vipphandana, 
ihaka, and paripphandana (perhaps also abhoga) in the general senses of interestedness, 
activity concern, interference, intervention, etc. 



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when decaying, 7 a woman invades a man's mind and stays there." That is 
why the sign should be apprehended in the six ways only in a body of the 
same sex. 

43. But when a clansman has cultivated the meditation subject under former 
Enlightened Ones, kept the ascetic practices, threshed out the great primary 
elements, discerned formations, defined mentality-materiality eliminated the 
perception of a being, done the ascetic's [185] duties, lived the moral life, and 
developed the development, when he contains the seed [of turning away from 
formations], and has mature knowledge and little defilement, then the 
counterpart sign appears to him in the place while he keeps looking. If it does 
not appear in that way, then it appears to him as he is apprehending the sign in 
the six ways. 

44. But if it does not appear to him even then, he should apprehend the sign 
again in five more ways: (7) by its joints, (8) by its openings, (9) by its concavities, 
(10) by its convexities, and (11) all round. 

45. Herein, (7) by its joints is [properly] by its hundred and eighty joints. But 
how can he define the hundred and eighty joints in the bloated? Consequently 
he can define it by its fourteen major joints thus: Three joints in the right arm, 
three in the left arm, three in the right leg, three in the left leg, one neck joint, one 
waist joint. 

46. (8) By its openings: an "opening" is the hollow between the arm [and the 
side], the hollow between the legs, the hollow of the stomach, the hollow of the 
ear. He should define it by its openings in this way. Or alternatively, the opened 
or closed state of the eyes and the opened or closed state of the mouth can be 
defined. 

47. (9) By its concavities: he should define any concave place on the body such 
as the eye sockets or the inside of the mouth or the base of the neck. Or he can 
define it thus: "I am standing in a concave place, the body is in a convex place." 

48. (10) By its convexities: he should define any raised place on the body such 
as the knee or the chest or the forehead. Or he can define it thus: "I am standing 
in a convex place, the body is in a concave place." 

49. (11) All round: the whole body should be defined all round. After working 
over the whole body with knowledge, he should establish his mind thus, "The 
bloated, the bloated," upon any part that appears clearly to him. If it has not 
appeared even yet, and if there is special intensity of the bloatedness in the belly, 8 
he should establish his mind thus, "The bloated, the bloated," on that. 

50. Now, as to the words, he sees that the sign is properly apprehended, etc., the 
explanation is this. The meditator should apprehend the sign thoroughly in 
that body in the way of apprehending the sign already described. He should 

7. The Harvard text has ugghatita, but Vism-mht (p. 170) reads "ugghanita (not in 
PED) pl-ti uddhumatakabhavappatta pi sabbaso kuthita-sartra-pi-ti attho." 

8. "Udara-pariyosanam uparisarlram" (Vism-mht 172). Pariyosana here means "intensity" 
though normally it means "end"; but see PED pariyosita. 

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advert to it with well-established mindfulness. He should see that it is properly 
remembered, properly defined, by doing that again and again. Standing in a 
place not too far from and not too near to the body, he should open his eyes, look 
and apprehend the sign. [186] He should open his eyes and look a hundred 
times, a thousand times, [thinking], "Repulsiveness of the bloated, repulsiveness 
of the bloated," and he should close his eyes and advert to it. 

51. As he does so again and again, the learning sign becomes properly 
apprehended by him. When is it properly apprehended? When it comes into 
focus alike whether he opens his eyes and looks or closes his eyes and adverts, 
then it is called properly apprehended. 

52. When he has thus properly apprehended the sign, properly remembered 
it, and properly defined it, then if he is unable to conclude his development on 
the spot, he can go to his own lodging, alone, in the same way as described of his 
coming, with no companion, keeping that same meditation subject in mind, 
with mindfulness well established, and with his mind not turned outwards 
owing to his faculties being turned inwards. 

53. As he leaves the charnel ground he should define the path he comes back 
by thus: "The path by which I have left goes in an easterly direction, westerly ... 
northerly ... southerly direction," or "It goes in an intermediate direction"; or 
"In this place it goes to the left, in this place to the right"; and "In this place 
there is a stone, in this a termite-mound, in this a tree, in this a bush, in this a 
creeper." 

54. When he has defined the path he has come back by and when, once back, 
he is walking up and down, he should see that his walk is oriented towards it 
too; the meaning is that he should walk up and down on a piece of ground that 
faces in the direction of the sign of foulness. And when he sits, he should prepare 
a seat oriented towards it too. 

55. But if there is a bog or a ravine or a tree or a fence or a swamp in that 
direction, if he cannot walk up and down on a piece of ground facing in that 
direction, if he cannot prepare his seat thus because there is no room for it, then 
he can both walk up and down and sit in a place where there is room, even 
though it does not face that way; but he should turn his mind in that direction. 

56. Now, as to the questions beginning with what is the purpose . . . characterizing 
the surrounding signs? The intention of the answer that begins with the words, has 
non-delusion for its purpose, is this: If someone goes at the wrong time to the place 
where the sign of the bloated is, and opens his eyes for the purpose of 
apprehending the sign by characterizing the surrounding signs, then as soon 
as he looks the dead body appears [187] as if it were standing up and threatening 9 
and pursuing him, and when he sees the hideous and fearful object, his mind 
reels, he is like one demented, gripped by panic, fear and terror, and his hair 
stands on end. For among the thirty-eight meditation subjects expounded in the 
texts no object is so frightening as this one. There are some who lose jhana in 
this meditation subject. Why? Because it is so frightening. 

9. There is no sense of ajjhottharati given in PED that fits here. Cf. 1.56. 

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57. So the meditator must stand firm. Establishing his mindfulness well, he 
should remove his fears in this way: "No dead body gets up and pursues one. If 
that stone or that creeper close to it were to come, the body might come too; but 
since that stone or that creeper does not come, the body will not come either. Its 
appearance to you in this way is born: of your perception, created by your 
perception. Today your meditation subject has appeared to you. Do not be afraid, 
bhikkhu." He should laugh it off and direct his mind to the sign. In that way he 
will arrive at distinction. The words "Characterizing the surrounding signs 
has non-delusion for its purpose" are said on this account. 

58. To succeed in apprehending the sign in the eleven ways is to anchor the 
meditation subject. For the opening of his eyes and looking conditions the arising 
of the learning sign; and as he exercises his mind on that the counterpart sign 
arises; and as he exercises his mind on that he reaches absorption. When he is 
sure of absorption, he works up insight and realizes Arahantship Hence it was 
said: apprehending the sign in the [other] eleven ways has anchoring [the mind] for its 
purpose. 

59. The reviewing of the path gone by and come by has keeping [the mind] on the track 
for its purpose: the meaning is that the reviewing of the path gone by and of the 
path come back by mentioned is for the purpose of keeping properly to the track 
of the meditation subject. 

60. For if this bhikkhu is going along with his meditation subject and people 
on the way ask him about the day, "What is today, venerable sir?" or they ask him 
some question [about Dhamma], or they welcome him, he ought not to go on in 
silence, thinking "I have a meditation subject." The day must be told, the question 
must be answered, even by saying "I do not know" if he does not know, a legitimate 
welcome must be responded to. [188] As he does so, the newly acquired sign 
vanishes. But even if it does vanish, he should still tell the day when asked; if he 
does not know the answer to the question, he should still say "I do not know," 
and if he does know it, he should explain it surely; 10 and he must respond to a 
welcome. Also reception of visitors must be attended to on seeing a visiting 
bhikkhu, and all the remaining duties in the Khandhakas must be carried out 
too, that is, the duties of the shrine terrace, the duties of the Bodhi-tree terrace, the 
duties of the Uposatha house, the duties of the refectory and the bath house, and 
those to the teacher, the preceptor, visitors, departing bhikkhus, and the rest. 

61. And the newly acquired sign vanishes while he is carrying out these too. 
When he wants to go again, thinking "I shall go and take up the sign," he finds 
he cannot go to the charnel ground because it has been invaded by non-human 
beings or by wild beasts, or the sign has disappeared. For a bloated corpse only 
lasts one or two days and then turns into a livid corpse. Of all the meditation 
subjects there is none so hard to come by as this. 

62. So when the sign has vanished in this way, the bhikkhu should sit down in 
his night quarters or in his day quarters and first of all review the path gone by 
and come by up to the place where he is actually sitting cross-legged, doing it in 

10. Reading ekamsena (surely) with Harvard text rather than ekadesena (partly). 

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this way: "I went out of the monastery by this gate, I took a path leading in such 
and such a direction, I turned left at such and such a place, I turned right at such 
and such a place, in one part of it there was a stone, in another a termite-mound 
or a tree or a bush or a creeper; having gone by that path, I saw the foulness in 
such and such a place, I stood there facing in such and such a direction and 
observed such and such surrounding signs, I apprehended the sign of foulness 
in this way; I left the charnel ground in such and such a direction, I came back 
by such and such a path doing this and this, and I am now sitting here." 

63. As he reviews it in this way, the sign becomes evident and appears as if 
placed in front of him; the meditation subject rides in its track as it did before. 
Hence it was said: the reviewing of the path gone by and come by has keeping [the 
mind] on the track for its purpose. 

64. Now, as to the words, when he has established reverence for it by seeing its 
advantages and by perceiving it as a treasure and so come to love it, he anchors 
the mind on that object: here, having gained jhana by exercising his mind on the 
repulsiveness in the bloated, he should increase insight with the jhana as its 
proximate cause, and then he should see the advantages in this way: [189] 
"Surely in this way I shall be liberated from ageing and death." 

65. Just as a pauper who acquired a treasure of gems would guard and love it 
with great affection, feeling reverence for it as one who appreciates the value of 
it, "I have got what is hard indeed to get!" so too [this bhikkhu] should guard 
the sign, loving it and feeling reverence for it as one who appreciates the value of 
it, "I have got this meditation subject, which is indeed as hard to get as a very 
valuable treasure is for a pauper to get. For one whose meditation subject is the 
four elements discerns the four primary elements in himself, one whose meditation 
subject is breathing discerns the wind in his own nostrils, and one whose 
meditation subject is a kasina makes a kasina and develops it at his ease, so these 
other meditation subjects are easily got. But this one lasts only one, or two days, 
after which it turns into a livid corpse. There is none harder to get than this 
one." In his night quarters and in his day quarters he should keep his mind 
anchored there thus, "Repulsiveness of the bloated, repulsiveness of the bloated." 
And he should advert to the sign, bring it to mind and strike at it with thought 
and applied thought over and over again. 

66. As he does so, the counterpart sign arises. Here is the difference between 
the two signs. The learning sign appears as a hideous, dreadful and frightening 
sight; but the counterpart sign appears like a man with big limbs lying down 
after eating his fill. 

67. Simultaneously with his acquiring the counterpart sign, his lust is 
abandoned by suppression owing to his giving no attention externally to sense 
desires [as object]. And owing to his abandoning of approval, ill will is abandoned 
too, as pus is with the abandoning of blood. Likewise stiffness and torpor are 
abandoned through exertion of energy, agitation and worry are abandoned 
through devotion to peaceful things that cause no remorse; and uncertainty 
about the Master who teaches the way, about the way, and about the fruit of the 
way, is abandoned through the actual experience of the distinction attained. So 

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the five hindrances are abandoned. And there are present applied thought with 
the characteristic of directing the mind on to that same sign, and sustained 
thought accomplishing the function of pressing on the sign, and happiness 
due to the acquisition of distinction, and tranquillity due to the production of 
tranquillity in one whose mind is happy, and bliss with that tranquillity as its 
sign, [190] and unification that has bliss as its sign due to the production of 
concentration in one whose mind is blissful. So the jhana factors become manifest. 

68. Thus access, which is the obverse of the first jhana, is produced in him too 
at that same moment. All after that up to absorption in the first jhana and mastery 
in it should be understood as described under the earth kasina. 

69. As regards the livid and the rest: the characterizing already described, 
starting with the going in the way beginning "One who is learning the bloated 
sign of foulness goes alone with no companion, with unremitting mindfulness 
established" (§19), should all be understood with its exposition and intention, 
substituting for the word "bloated" the appropriate word in each case thus: 
"One who is learning the livid sign of foulness ...", "One who is learning the 
festering sign of foulness ..." But the differences are as follows. 

[The Livid] 

70. The livid should be brought to mind as "Repulsiveness of the livid, 
repulsiveness of the livid." Here the learning sign appears blotchy-coloured; 
but the counterpart sign's appearance has the colour which is most prevalent. 

[The Festering] 

71. The festering should be brought to mind as "Repulsiveness of the festering, 
repulsiveness of the festering." Here the learning sign appears as though 
trickling; but the counterpart sign appears motionless and quiet. 

[The Cut Up] 

72. The cut up is found on a battlefield or in a robbers' forest or on a charnel 
ground where kings have robbers cut up or in the jungle in a place where men 
are torn up by lions and tigers. So, if when he goes there, it comes into focus at 
one adverting although lying in different places, that is good. If not, then he 
should not touch it with his own hand; for by doing so he would become familiar 
with it. 11 He should get a monastery attendant or one studying to become an 
ascetic or someone else to put it together in one place. If he cannot find anyone 
to do it, he should put it together with a walking stick or a staff in such a way 
that there is only a finger's breadth separating [the parts]. Having put it together 
thus, he should bring it to mind as "Repulsiveness of the cut up, repulsiveness of 
the cut up." Herein, the learning sign appears as though cut in the middle; but 
the counterpart sign appears whole. [191] 



11. "He would come to handle it without disgust as a corpse-burner would" 
(Vism-mht 176.). 



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[The Gnawed] 

73. The gnawed should be brought to mind as "Repulsiveness of the gnawed, 
repulsiveness of the gnawed." Here the learning sign appears as though gnawed 
here and there; but the counterpart sign appears whole. 

[The Scattered] 

74. After getting the scattered put together or putting it together in the way 
described under the cut up so that there is only a finger's breadth, separating 
[the pieces], it should be brought to mind as "Repulsiveness of the scattered, 
repulsiveness of the scattered." Here the learning sign appears with the gaps 
evident; but the counterpart sign appears whole. 

[The Hacked and Scattered] 

75. The hacked and scattered is found in the same places as those described 
under the cut up. Therefore, after going there and getting it put together or 
putting it together in the way described under the cut up so that there is only a 
finger's breadth separating [the pieces], it should be brought to mind as 
"Repulsiveness of the hacked and scattered, repulsiveness of the hacked and 
scattered." Here, when the learning sign becomes evident, it does so with the 
fissures of the wounds; but the counterpart sign appears whole. 

[The Bleeding] 

76. The bleeding is found at the time when [blood] is trickling from the openings 
of wounds received on battlefields, etc., or from the openings of burst boils and 
abscesses when the hands and feet have been cut off. So on seeing that, it should 
be brought to mind as "Repulsiveness of the bleeding, repulsiveness of the 
bleeding." Here the learning sign appears to have the aspect of moving like a 
red banner struck by wind; but the counterpart sign appears quiet. 

[The Worm-Infested] 

77. There is a worm-infested corpse when at the end of two or three days a mass 
of maggots oozes out from the corpse's nine orifices, and the mass lies there like 
a heap of paddy or boiled rice as big as the body, whether the body is that of a 
dog, a jackal, a human being, 12 an ox, a buffalo, an elephant, a horse, a python, 
or what you will. It can be brought to mind with respect to anyone of these as 
"Repulsiveness of the worm-infested, repulsiveness of the worm-infested." For 
the sign arose for the Elder Cula-Pindapatika-Tissa in the corpse of an elephant's 
carcass in the Kaladighavapi reservoir. Here the learning sign appears as though 
moving; but the counterpart sign appears quiet, like a ball of boiled rice. 

[A Skeleton] 

78. A skeleton is described in various aspects in the way beginning "As though 
he were looking at a corpse thrown onto a charnel ground, a skeleton with flesh 

12. Reading manussa with Sinhalese ed. 



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and blood, held together by sinews" (D II 296). [192] So he should go in the way 
already described to where it has been put, and noticing any stones, etc., with 
their surrounding signs and in relation, to the object, he should characterize it 
by the fact of its having attained that particular individual essence thus, "This is a 
skeleton," and he should apprehend the sign in the eleven ways by colour and 
the rest. But if he looks at it, [apprehending it only] by its colour as white, it does 
not appear to him [with its individual essence as repulsive], but only as a variant 
of the white kasina. Consequently he should only look at it as 'a skeleton' in the 
repulsive aspect. 

79. "Mark" is a term for the hand, etc., here, so he should define it by its mark 
according to hand, foot, head, chest, arm, waist, thigh, and shin. He should 
define it by its shape, however, according as it is long, short, square, round, small 
or large. By its direction and by its location are as already described (§39-40). 
Having defined it by its delimitation according to the periphery of each bone, he 
should reach absorption by apprehending whichever appears most evident to 
him. But it can also be defined by its concavities and by its convexities according to 
the concave and convex places in each bone. And it can also be defined by 
position thus: "I am standing in a concave place, the skeleton is in a convex 
place; or I am standing in a convex place, the skeleton is in a concave place." It 
should be defined by its joints according as any two bones are joined together. It 
should be defined by its openings according to the gaps separating the bones. It 
should be defined all round by directing knowledge to it comprehensively thus: 
"In this place there is this skeleton." If the sign does not arise even in this way, 
then the mind should be established on the frontal bone. And in this case, just as 
in the case of those that precede it beginning with the worm-infested, the 
apprehending of the sign should be observed in this elevenfold manner as 
appropriate. 

80. This meditation subject is successful with a whole skeleton frame and even 
with a single bone as well. So having learnt the sign in anyone of these in the 
eleven ways, he should bring it to mind as "Repulsiveness of a skeleton, 
repulsiveness of a skeleton." Here the learning sign and the counterpart sign 
are alike, so it is said. That is correct for a single bone. But when the learning 
sign becomes manifest in a skeleton frame, what is correct [to say] is that there 
are gaps in the learning sign while the counterpart sign appears whole. [193] 
And the learning sign even in a single bone should be dreadful and terrifying 
but the counterpart sign produces happiness and joy because it brings access. 

81. What is said in the Commentaries in this context allows that deduction. 
For there, after saying this, "There is no counterpart sign in the four divine 
abidings and in the ten kinds of foulness; for in the case of the divine abidings 
the sign is the breaking down of boundaries itself, and in the case of the ten 
kinds of foulness the sign comes into being as soon as the repulsiveness is seen, 
without any thinking about it," it is again said, immediately next: "Here the 
sign is twofold: the learning sign and the counterpart sign. The learning sign 
appears hideous, dreadful and terrifying," and so on. So what we said was well 
considered. And it is only this that is correct here. Besides, the appearance of a 



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woman's whole body as a collection of bones to the Elder Maha-Tissa through 
his merely looking at her teeth demonstrates this here (see 1.55). 

[General] 

82. The Divine Ruler with ten hundred eyes 
Did him with the Ten Powers eulogize, 

Who, fair in fame, made known as cause of jhana 
This foulness of ten species in such wise. 
Now, knowing their description and the way 
To tackle each and how they are developed, 
There are some further points that will repay 
Study, each with its special part to play 

83. One who has reached jhana in anyone of these goes free from cupidity; he 
resembles [an Arahant] without greed because his greed has been well 
suppressed. At the same time, however, this classification of foulness should be 
understood as stated in accordance with the particular individual essences 
successively reached by the [dead] body and also in accordance with the 
particular subdivisions of the greedy temperament. 

84. When a corpse has entered upon the repulsive state, it may have reached 
the individual essence of the bloated or anyone of the individual essences 
beginning with that of the livid. So the sign should be apprehended as 
"Repulsiveness of the bloated," "Repulsiveness of the livid," according to 
whichever he has been able to find. This, it should be understood, is how the 
classification of foulness comes to be tenfold with the body's arrival at each 
particular individual essence. 

85. And individually the bloated suits one who is greedy about shape since it 
makes evident the disfigurement of the body's shape. The livid suits one who is 
greedy about the body's colour since it makes evident the disfigurement of the 
skin's colour. The festering [194] suits one who is greedy about the smell of the 
body aroused by scents, perfumes, etc., since it makes evident the evil smells 
connected with this sore, the body. The cut up suits one who is greedy about 
compactness in the body since it makes evident the hollowness inside it. The 
gnawed suits one who is greedy about accumulation of flesh in such parts of the 
body as the breasts since it makes it evident how a fine accumulation of flesh 
comes to nothing. The scattered suits one who is greedy about the grace of the 
limbs since it makes it evident how limbs can be scattered. The hacked and 
scattered suits one who is greedy about a fine body as a whole since it makes 
evident the disintegration and alteration of the body as a whole. The bleeding 
suits one who is greedy about elegance produced by ornaments since it makes 
evident its repulsiveness when smeared with blood. The worm-infested suits one 
who is greedy about ownership of the body since it makes it evident how the 
body is shared with many families of worms. A skeleton suits one who is greedy 
about fine teeth since it makes evident the repulsiveness of the bones in the body. 
This, it should be understood, is how the classification of foulness comes to be 
tenfold according to the subdivisions of the greedy temperament. 



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86. But as regards the tenfold foulness, just as it is only by virtue of its rudder 
that a boat keeps steady in a river with turbulent 13 waters and a rapid current, 
and it cannot be steadied without a rudder, so too [here], owing to the weak hold 
on the object, consciousness when unified only keeps steady by virtue of applied 
thought, and it cannot be steadied without applied thought, which is why there 
is only the first jhana here, not the second and the rest. 

87. And repulsive as this object is, still it arouses joy and happiness in him by 
his seeing its advantages thus, "Surely in this way I shall be liberated from ageing 
and death," and by his abandoning the hindrances' oppression; just as a garbage 
heap does in a flower-scavenger by his seeing the advantages thus, "Now I shall 
get a high wage," and as the workings of purges and emetics do in a man 
suffering the pains of sickness. 

88. This foulness, while of ten kinds, has only one characteristic. For though it 
is of ten kinds, nevertheless its characteristic is only its impure, stinking, 
disgusting and repulsive state (essence). And foulness appears with this 
characteristic not only in a dead body but also in a living one, as it did to the 
Elder Maha-Tissa who lived at Cetiyapabbata (1.55), and to the novice attendant 
on the Elder Sahgharakkhita while he was watching the king riding an elephant. 
For a living body is just as foul as a dead one, [195] only the characteristic of 
foulness is not evident in a living body, being hidden by adventitious 
embellishments. 

89. This is the body's nature: it is a collection of over three hundred bones, 
jointed by one hundred and eighty joints, bound together by nine hundred 
sinews, plastered over with nine hundred pieces of flesh, enveloped in the moist 
inner skin, enclosed in the outer cuticle, with orifices here and there, constantly 
dribbling and trickling like a grease pot, inhabited by a community of worms, 
the home of disease, the basis of painful states, perpetually oozing from the nine 
orifices like a chronic open carbuncle, from both of whose eyes eye-filth trickles, 
from whose ears comes ear-filth, from whose nostrils snot, from whose mouth 
food and bile and phlegm and blood, from whose lower outlets excrement and 
urine, and from whose ninety-nine thousand pores the broth of stale sweat 
seeps, with bluebottles and their like buzzing round it, which when untended 
with tooth sticks and mouth-washing and head-anointing and bathing and 
underclothing and dressing would, judged by the universal repulsiveness of 
the body, make even a king, if he wandered from village to village with his hair 
in its natural wild disorder, no different from a flower-scavenger or an outcaste 
or what you will. So there is no distinction between a king's body and an outcaste's 
in so far as its impure stinking nauseating repulsiveness is concerned. 

90. But by rubbing out the stains on its teeth with tooth sticks and mouth- 
washing and all that, by concealing its private parts under several cloths, by 
daubing it with various scents and salves, by pranking it with nosegays and 
such things, it is worked up into a state that permits of its being taken as "I" and 



13. Aparisanthita — "turbulent." Parisanthati (to quiet) is not in PED. Aparisanthita is 
not in CPD. 



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"mine." So men delight in women and women in men without perceiving the 
true nature of its characteristic foulness, now masked by this adventitious 
adornment. But in the ultimate sense there is no place here even the size of an 
atom fit to lust after. 

91. And then, when any such bits of it as head hairs, body hairs, nails, teeth, 
spittle, snot, excrement or urine have dropped off the body, beings will not touch 
them; they are ashamed, humiliated and disgusted. But as long as anyone of 
these things remains in it, though it is just as repulsive, they take it as agreeable, 
desirable, permanent, [196] pleasant, self, because they are wrapped in the murk 
of ignorance and dyed with affection and greed for self. Taking it as they do, 
they resemble the old jackal who saw a flower not yet fallen from a kimsuka tree in 
a forest and yearned after it, thinking, "This is a piece of meat, it is a piece of 
meat." 

92. There was a jackal chanced to see 
A flowering kimsuka in a wood; 

In haste he went to where it stood: 
"I have found a meat-bearing tree!" 

He chewed the blooms that fell, but could, 
Of course, find nothing fit to eat; 
He took it thus: "Unlike the meat 
There on the tree, this is no good." 

A wise man will not think to treat 
As foul only the part that fell, 
But treats as foul the part as well 
That in the body has its seat. 

Fools cannot in their folly tell; 
They take the body to be fair, 
And soon get caught in Evil's snare 
Nor can escape its painful spell. 

But since the wise have thus laid bare 
This filthy body's nature, so, 
Be it alive or dead, they know 
There is no beauty lurking there. 

93. For this is said: 

"This filthy body stinks outright 
Like ordure, like a privy's site; 
This body men that have insight 
Condemn, as object of a fool's delight. 

"A tumour where nine holes abide 
Wrapped in a coat of clammy hide 
And trickling filth on every side, 
Polluting the air with stenches far and wide. 



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"If it perchance should come about 

That what is inside it came out, 

Surely a man would need a knout 

With which to put the crows and dogs to rout." 

94. So a capable bhikkhu should apprehend the sign wherever the aspect of 
foulness is manifest, whether in a living body or in a dead one, and he should 
make the meditation subject reach absorption. 

The sixth chapter called "The Description of Foulness as 
a Meditation Subject" in the Treatise on the Development 
of Concentration in the Path of Purification composed for 
the purpose of gladdening good people. 



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Chapter VII 

Six Recollections 
(Cha-anussati-niddesa) 

1. [197] Now, ten recollections were listed next after the ten kinds of foulness 
(III. 105). As to these: 

Mindfulness (sati) itself is recollection (anussati) because it arises again and 
again; or alternatively, the mindfulness (sati) that is proper (anurupa) for a 
clansman gone forth out of faith, since it occurs only in those instances where it 
should occur, is "recollection" (anussati). 

The recollection arisen inspired by the Enlightened One is the recollection of 
the Buddha. This is a term for mindfulness with the Enlightened One's special 
qualities as its object. 

The recollection arisen inspired by the Law is the recollection of the Dhamma. 1 
This is a term for mindfulness with the special qualities of the Law's being well 
proclaimed, etc., as its object. 

1. The word dhamma — perhaps the most important and frequently used of Pali 
words — has no single equivalent in English because no English word has both a 
generalization so wide and loose as the word dhamma in its widest sense (which 
includes "everything" that can be known or thought of in any way) and at the same 
time an ability to be, as it were, focused in a set of well-defined specific uses. Roughly 
dhamma = what-can-be-remembered or what-can-be-borne-in-mind (dharetabba) as 
kamma = what-can-be-done (katabba). The following two principal (and overlapping) 
senses are involved here: (i) the Law as taught, and (ii) objects of consciousness, (i) In 
the first case the word has either been left untranslated as "Dhamma" or "dhamma" 
or it has been tendered as "Law" or "law." This ranges from the loose sense of the 
"Good Law," "cosmic law," and "teaching" to such specific technical senses as the 
"discrimination of law," "causality" "being subject to or having the nature of." (ii) In 
the second case the word in its looser sense of "something known or thought of" has 
either been left untranslated as "dhamma" or rendered by "state" (more rarely by 
"thing" or "phenomenon"), while in its technical sense as one of the twelve bases or 
eighteen elements "mental object" and "mental datum" have been used. The sometimes 
indiscriminate use of "dhamma," "state" and "law" in both the looser senses is 
deliberate. The English words have been reserved as far as possible for rendering 
dhamma (except that "state" has sometimes been used to render bhava, etc., in the 
sense of "-ness"). Other subsidiary meanings of a non-technical nature have 
occasionally been otherwise rendered according to context. 



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The recollection arisen inspired by the Community is the recollection of the 
Sangha. This is a term for mindfulness with the Community's special qualities of 
being entered on the good way etc., as its object. 

The recollection arisen inspired by virtue is the recollection of virtue. This is a term 
for mindfulness with the special qualities of virtue's untornness, etc., as its object. 

The recollection arisen inspired by generosity is the recollection of generosity. 
This is a term for mindfulness with generosity's special qualities of free 
generosity, etc., as its object. 

The recollection arisen inspired by deities is the recollection of deities. This is a 
term for mindfulness with the special qualities of one's own faith, etc., as its 
object with deities standing as witnesses. 

The recollection arisen inspired by death is the recollection of death. This is a 
term for mindfulness with the termination of the life faculty as its object. 

[Mindfulness occupied with the body (kaya-gata sati — lit. "body-gone 
mindfulness"):] it is gone (gata) to the material body (kayo) that is analyzed into 
head hairs, etc., or it is gone into the body, thus it is "body-gone" {kaya-gata). It is 
body-gone (kaya-gata) and it is mindfulness (sati), thus it is "body-gone- 
mindfulness" (kayagatasati — single compound); but instead of shortening [the 
vowel] thus in the usual way, "body-gone mindfulness" (kayagata sati — 
compound adj. + noun) is said. This is a term for mindfulness that has as its 
object the sign of the bodily parts consisting of head hairs and the rest. 

The mindfulness arisen inspired by breathing (anapana) is mindfulness of 
breathing. This is a term for mindfulness that has as its object the sign of in- 
breaths and out-breaths. 

In order to avoid muddle it is necessary to distinguish renderings of the word 
dhamma and renderings of the words used to define it. The word itself is a gerundive 
of the verb dharati (caus. dhareti — "to bear") and so is the literal equivalent of "[quality] 
that is to be borne." But since the grammatical meanings of the two words dharati ("to 
bear") and dahati ("to put or sort out," whence dhatu — "element") sometimes coalesce, 
it often comes very close to dhatu (but see VIII n. 68 and XI.104). If it is asked, what 
bears the qualities to be borne? A correct answer here would probably be that it is the 
event (samaya), as stated in the Dhammasarigani (§1, etc.), in which the various 
dhammas listed there arise and are present, variously related to each other. The word 
dhammin (thing qualified or "bearer of what is to be borne") is a late introduction as a 
logical term (perhaps first used in Pali by Vism-mht, see p. 534). 

As to the definitions of the word, there are several. At D-a I 99 four meanings are 
given: moral (meritorious) special quality (guna), preaching of the Law (desana), scripture 
(pariyatti), and "no-living-being-ness" (nissattata). Four meanings are also given at 
Dhs-a 38: scripture (pariyatti), cause (of effect) as law (hetu), moral (meritorious) 
special quality (guna), and "no-living-being-ness and soullessness" (nissatta-nijjivata). 
A wider definition is given at M-a 117, where the following meanings are distinguished: 
scriptural mastery, (pariyatti — A III 86) truth, (sacca — Vin 1 12) concentration, (samadhi — 
D II 54) understanding, (pahna — J-a 1 280) nature, (pakati — M 1 162) individual essence, 
(sabhava — Dhs 1) voidness, (suhhata — Dhs 25) merit, (puhna — S I 82) offence, (apatti — 
Vin III 187) what is knowable, (heyya — Patis II 194) "and so on" (see also VIII n. 68). 

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The recollection arisen inspired by peace is the recollection of peace. This is a 
term that has as its object the stilling of all suffering. 

[(1) Recollection of the Enlightened One] 

2. [198] Now, a meditator with absolute confidence 2 who wants to develop firstly 
the recollection of the Enlightened One among these ten should go into solitary 
retreat in a favourable abode and recollect the special qualities of the Enlightened 
One, the Blessed One, as follows: 

That Blessed One is such since he is accomplished, fully enlightened, endowed 
with [clear] vision and [virtuous] conduct, sublime, the knower of worlds, the 
incomparable leader of men to be tamed, the teacher of gods and men, 
enlightened and blessed (M I 37; A III 285). 

3. Here is the way he recollects: "That Blessed One is such since he is 
accomplished, he is such since he is fully enlightened, ... he is such since he is 
blessed" — he is so for these several reasons, is what is meant. 

[Accomplished] 

4. Herein, what he recollects firstly is that the Blessed One is accomplished (arahanta) 
for the following reasons: (i) because of remoteness (araka), and (ii) because of 
his enemies (ari) and (iii) the spokes (ara) having been destroyed (hata), and (iv) 
because of his worthiness (araha) of requisites, etc., and (v) because of absence of 
secret (rahabhava) evil-doing. 3 

5. (i) He stands utterly remote and far away from all defilements because he has 
expunged all trace of defilement by means of the path — because of such 
remoteness (araka) he is accomplished (arahanta). 

A man remote (araka) indeed we call 

From something he has not at all; 

The Saviour too that has no stain 

May well the name "accomplished" (arahanta) gain. 

6. (ii) And these enemies (ari), these defilements, are destroyed (hata) by the 
path — because the enemies are thus destroyed he is accomplished (arahanta) 
also. 

The enemies (ari) that were deployed, 

Greed and the rest, have been destroyed (hata) 

By his, the Helper's, wisdom's sword, 

So he is "accomplished" (arahanta), all accord. 

7. (iii) Now, this wheel of the round of rebirths with its hub made of ignorance 
and of craving for becoming, with its spokes consisting of formations of merit 
and the rest, with its rim of ageing and death, which is joined to the chariot of 

2. "'Absolute confidence' is the confidence afforded by the noble path. Development 
of the recollection comes to success in him who has that, not in any other" (Vism-mht 
181). "Absolute confidence" is a constituent of the first three "factors of stream- 
entry" (see S V 196). 

3. Cf. derivation of the word ariya ("noble") at M-a I 21. 

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Chapter VII Six Recollections 

the triple becoming by piercing it with the axle made of the origins of cankers 
(see M I 55), has been revolving throughout time that has no beginning. All of 
this wheel's spokes (ara) were destroyed (hata) by him at the Place of 
Enlightenment, as he stood firm with the feet of energy on the ground of virtue, 
wielding with the hand of faith the axe of knowledge that destroys kamma — 
because the spokes are thus destroyed he is accomplished (arahanta) also. 

8. Or alternatively, it is the beginningless round of rebirths that is called the 
"wheel of the round of rebirths." Ignorance is its hub because it is its root. 
Ageing-and-death is its rim because it terminates it. The remaining ten states [of 
the dependent origination] are its spokes because ignorance is their root and 
ageing-and-death their termination. 

9. Herein, ignorance is unknowing about suffering and the rest. And ignorance 
in sensual becoming [199] is a condition for formations in sensual becoming. 
Ignorance in fine-material becoming is a condition for formations in fine-material 
becoming. Ignorance in immaterial becoming is a condition for formations in 
immaterial becoming. 

10. Formations in sensual becoming are a condition for rebirth-linking 
consciousness in sensual becoming. And similarly with the rest. 

11. Rebirth-linking consciousness in sensual becoming is a condition for 
mentality-materiality in sensual becoming. Similarly in fine-material becoming. 
In immaterial becoming it is a condition for mentality only. 

12. Mentality-materiality in sensual becoming is a condition for the sixfold 
base in sensual becoming. Mentality-materiality in fine-material becoming is a 
condition for three bases in fine-material becoming. Mentality in immaterial 
becoming is a condition for one base in immaterial becoming. 

13. The sixfold base in sensual becoming is a condition for six kinds of contact 
in sensual becoming. Three bases in fine-material becoming are conditions for 
three kinds of contact in fine-material becoming. The mind base alone in 
immaterial becoming is a condition for one kind of contact in immaterial 
becoming. 

14. The six kinds of contact in sensual becoming are conditions for six kinds 
of feeling in sensual becoming. Three kinds of contact in fine-material becoming 
are conditions for three kinds of feeling there too. One kind of contact in 
immaterial becoming is a condition for one kind of feeling there too. 

15. The six kinds of feeling in sensual becoming are conditions for the six 
groups of craving in sensual becoming. Three in the fine-material becoming are 
for three there too. One kind of feeling in the immaterial becoming is a condition 
for one group of craving in the immaterial becoming. The craving in the several 
kinds of becoming is a condition for the clinging there. 

16. Clinging, etc., are the respective conditions for becoming and the rest. In 
what way? Here someone thinks, "I shall enjoy sense desires," and with sense- 
desire clinging as condition he misconducts himself in body, speech, and mind. 
Owing to the fulfilment of his misconduct he reappears in a state of loss 
(deprivation). The kamma that is the cause of his reappearance there is kamma- 

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process becoming, the aggregates generated by the kamma are rebirth-process 
becoming, the generating of the aggregates is birth, their maturing is ageing, 
their dissolution is death. 

17. Another thinks, "I shall enjoy the delights of heaven," and in the parallel 
manner he conducts himself well. Owing to the fulfilment of his good conduct 
he reappears in a [sensual-sphere] heaven. The kamma that is the cause of his 
reappearance there is kamma-process becoming, and the rest as before. 

18. Another thinks, "I shall enjoy the delights of the Brahma-world," and with 
sense-desire clinging as condition he develops loving-kindness, compassion, 
gladness, and equanimity 4 [200] Owing to the fulfilment of the meditative 
development he is reborn in the Brahma-world. The kamma that is the cause of 
his rebirth there is kamma-process becoming, and the rest is as before. 

19. Yet another thinks, "I shall enjoy the delights of immaterial becoming," 
and with the same condition he develops the attainments beginning with the 
base consisting of boundless space. Owing to the fulfilment of the development 
he is reborn in one of these states. The kamma that is the cause of his rebirth there 
is kamma-process becoming, the aggregates generated by the kamma are rebirth- 
process becoming, the generating of the aggregates is birth, their maturing is 
ageing, their dissolution is death (see M II 263). The remaining kinds of clinging 
are construable in the same way. 

20. So, "Understanding of discernment of conditions thus, 'Ignorance is a 
cause, formations are causally arisen, and both these states are causally arisen,' 
is knowledge of the causal relationship of states. Understanding of discernment 
of conditions thus, 'In the past and in the future ignorance is a cause, formations 
are causally arisen, and both these states are causally arisen,' is knowledge of 
the causal relationship of states" (Patis I 50), and all the clauses should be given 
in detail in this way. 

21. Herein, ignorance and formations are one summarization; consciousness, 
mentality-materiality the sixfold base, contact, and feeling are another; craving, 
clinging, and becoming are another; and birth and ageing-and-death are 
another. Here the first summarization is past, the two middle ones are present, 
and birth and ageing-and-death are future. When ignorance and formations 
are mentioned, thentates, became dispassionate towards them, when his greed 
faded away, when he was liberated, then he destroyed, quite destroyed, abolished, 
the spokes of this wheel of the round of rebirths of the kind just described. 

22. Now, the Blessed One knew, saw, understood, and penetrated in all aspects 
this dependent origination with its four summarizations, its three times, its 
twenty aspects, and its three links. "Knowledge is in the sense of that being 
known, 5 and understanding is in the sense of the act of understanding that. 

4. "Because of the words, 'Also all dhammas of the three planes are sense desires 
(kama) in the sense of being desirable (kamanlya) (Cf. Nidd I 1: sabbepi kamavacara 
dhamma, sabbepi rupavacara dhamma, sabbepi arupavacara dhamma . . . kamanlyatthena . . . 
kama), greed for becoming is sense-desire clinging' (Vism-mht 184). See XII. 72. For 
the "way to the Brahma-world" see M II 194-96; 207f. 

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Hence it was said: 'Understanding of discernment of conditions is knowledge 
of the causal relationship of states'" (Patis I 52). Thus when the Blessed One, by 
correctly knowing these states with knowledge of relations of states, became 
dispassionate towards them, when his greed faded away, when he was liberated, 
then he destroyed, quite destroyed, abolished, the spokes of this wheel of the 
round of rebirths of the kind just described. 

Because the spokes are thus destroyed he is accomplished (arahanta) also. 
[201] 

The spokes (ara) of rebirth's wheel have been 
Destroyed (hata) with wisdom's weapon keen 
By him, the Helper of the World, 
And so "accomplished" (arahanta) he is called. 

23. (iv) And he is worthy (arahati) of the requisites of robes, etc., and of the 
distinction of being accorded homage because it is he who is most worthy of 
offerings. For when a Perfect One has arisen, important deities and human 
beings pay homage to none else; for Brahma Sahampati paid homage to the 
Perfect One with a jewelled garland as big as Sineru, and other deities did so 
according to their means, as well as human beings as King Bimbisara [of 
Magadha] and the king of Kosala. And after the Blessed One had finally attained 
Nibbana, King Asoka renounced wealth to the amount of ninety-six million for 
his sake and founded eight-four thousand monasteries throughout all 
Jambudipa (India). And so, with all these, what need to speak of others? Because 
of worthiness of requisites he is accomplished (arahanta) also. 

So he is worthy, the Helper of the World, 
Of homage paid with requisites; the word 
"Accomplished" (arahanta) has this meaning in the world: 
Hence the Victor is worthy of that word. 

24. (v) And he does not act like those fools in the world who vaunt their 
cleverness and yet do evil, but in secret for fear of getting a bad name. Because of 
absence of secret (rahabhava) evil-doing he is accomplished (arahanta) also. 

No secret evil deed may claim 
An author so august; the name 
"Accomplished" (arahanta) is his deservedly 
By absence of such secrecy (rahabhava). 

25. So in all ways: 

The Sage of remoteness unalloyed, 

Vanquished defiling foes deployed, 

The spokes of rebirth's wheel destroyed, 

Worthy of requisites employed, 

Secret evil he does avoid: 

For these five reasons he may claim 

This word "accomplished" for his name. 

5. Reading "tarn hatattthena nanam" with Vism-mht. 



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[Fully Enlightened] 

26. He is fully enlightened (sammasambuddha) because he has discovered 
(buddha) all things rightly (samma) and by himself (samam). 

In fact, all things were discovered by him rightly by himself in that he 
discovered, of the things to be directly known, that they must be directly known 
(that is, learning about the four truths), of the things to be fully understood that 
they must be fully understood (that is, penetration of suffering), of the things to 
be abandoned that they must be abandoned (that is, penetration of the origin of 
suffering), of the things to be realized that they must be realized (that is, 
penetration of the cessation of suffering), and of the things to be developed that 
they must be developed (that is, penetration of the path). Hence it is said: 

What must be directly known is directly known, 
What has to be developed has been developed, 
What has to be abandoned has been abandoned; 
And that, brahman, is why I am enlightened (Sn 558). 

27. [202] Besides, he has discovered all things rightly by himself step by step 
thus: The eye is the truth of suffering; the prior craving that originates it by being 
its root-cause is the truth of origin; the non-occurrence of both is the truth of cessation; 
the way that is the act of understanding cessation is the truth of the path. And so too 
in the case of the ear, the nose, the tongue, the body, and the mind. 

28. And the following things should be construed in the same way: 
the six bases beginning with visible objects; 

the six groups of consciousness beginning with eye-consciousness; 

the six kinds of contact beginning with eye-contact; 

the six kinds of feeling beginning with the eye-contact-born; 

the six kinds of perception beginning with perception of visible objects; 

the six kinds of volition beginning with volition about visible objects; 

the six groups of craving beginning with craving for visible objects; 

the six kinds of applied thought beginning with applied thought about visible 
objects; 

the six kinds of sustained thought beginning with sustained thought about 
visible objects; 

the five aggregates beginning with the aggregate of matter; 

the ten kasinas; 

the ten recollections; 

the ten perceptions beginning with perception of the bloated; 

the thirty-two aspects [of the body] beginning with head hairs; 

the twelve bases; 

the eighteen elements; 

the nine kinds of becoming beginning with sensual becoming; 6 



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the four jhanas beginning with the first; 

the four measureless states beginning with the development of loving- 
kindness; 

the four immaterial attainments; 

the factors of the dependent origination in reverse order beginning with 
ageing-and-death and in forward order beginning with ignorance (cf. XX. 9). 

29. Herein, this is the construction of a single clause [of the dependent 
origination]: Ageing-and-death is the truth of suffering, birth is the truth of 
origin, the escape from both is the truth of cessation, the way that is the act of 
understanding cessation is the truth of the path. 

In this way he has discovered, progressively discovered, completely discovered, 
all states rightly and by himself step by step. Hence it was said above: "He is fully 
enlightened because he has discovered all things rightly and by himself" (§26)7 

[Endowed With Clear Vision and Virtuous Conduct] 

30. He is endowed with [clear] vision and [virtuous] conduct: vijjacaranasampanno 
= vijjahi caranena ca sampanno (resolution of compound). 



6. See XVII. 253f. The word bhava is rendered here both by "existence" and by 
"becoming." The former, while less awkward to the ear, is inaccurate if it is allowed a 
flavour of staticness. "Becoming" will be more frequently used as this work proceeds. 
Loosely the two senses tend to merge. But technically, "existence" should perhaps be 
used only for atthita, which signifies the momentary existence of a dhamma "possessed 
of the three instants of arising, presence, and dissolution." "Becoming" then signifies 
the continuous flow or flux of such triple-instant moments; and it occurs in three main 
modes: sensual, fine-material, and immaterial. For remarks on the words "being" and 
"essence" see VIII n. 68. 

7. "Is not unobstructed knowledge (anavarana-nana) different from omniscient 
knowledge (sabbannuta-nana)? Otherwise the words "Six kinds of knowledge unshared 
[by disciples]" (Patis I 3) would be contradicted? [Note: The six kinds are: knowledge 
of what faculties prevail in beings, knowledge of the inclinations and tendencies of 
beings, knowledge of the Twin Marvel, knowledge of the attainment of the great 
compassion, omniscient knowledge, and unobstructed knowledge (see Patis 1 133)]. — 
There is no contradiction, because two ways in which a single kind of knowledge's 
objective field occurs are described for the purpose of showing by means of this 
difference how it is not shared by others. 

It is only one kind of knowledge; but it is called omniscient knowledge because its 
objective field consists of formed, unformed, and conventional (sammuti) [i.e. 
conceptual] dhammas without remainder, and it is called unobstructed knowledge 
because of its unrestricted access to the objective field, because of absence of 
obstruction. And it is said accordingly in the Patisambhida: "It knows all the formed 
and the unformed without remainder, thus it is omniscient knowledge. It has no 
obstruction therein, thus it is unobstructed knowledge" (Patis I 131), and so on. So 
they are not different kinds of knowledge. And there must be no reservation, otherwise 
it would follow that omniscient and unobstructed knowledge had obstructions and 
did not make all dhammas its object. There is not in fact a minimal obstruction to the 

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Herein, as to [dear] vision: there are three kinds of clear vision and eight kinds 
of clear vision. The three kinds should be understood as stated in the 
Bhayabherava Sutta (M I 22f.), and the eight kinds as stated in the Ambattha 
Sutta (D 1 100). For there eight kinds of clear vision are stated, made up of the six 
kinds of direct-knowledge together with insight and the supernormal power of 
the mind-made [body]. 

Blessed One's knowledge: and if his unobstructed knowledge did not have all dhammas 
as its object, there would be presence of obstruction where it did not occur, and so it 
would not be unobstructed. 

"Or alternatively, even if we suppose that they are different, still it is omniscient 
knowledge itself that is intended as 'unhindered' since it is that which occurs 
unhindered universally. And it is by his attainment of that that the Blessed One is 
known as Omniscient, All-seer, Fully Enlightened, not because of awareness (avabodha) 
of every dhamma at once, simultaneously (see M II 127). And it is said accordingly in 
the Patisambhida: 'This is a name derived from the final liberation of the Enlightened 
Ones, the Blessed Ones, together with the acquisition of omniscient knowledge at the 
root of the Enlightenment Tree; this name "Buddha" is a designation based on 
realization' (Patis 1 174). For the ability in the Blessed One's continuity to penetrate all 
dhammas without exception was due to his having completely attained to knowledge 
capable of becoming aware of all dhammas. 

"Here it may be asked: But how then? When this knowledge occurs, does it do so 
with respect to every field simultaneously, or successively? For firstly, if it occurs 
simultaneously with respect to every objective field, then with the simultaneous 
appearance of formed dhammas classed as past, future and present, internal and 
external, etc., and of unformed and conventional (conceptual) dhammas, there would 
be no awareness of contrast (patibhaga), as happens in one who looks at a painted 
canvas from a distance. That being so, it follows that all dhammas become the objective 
field of the Blessed One's knowledge in an undifferentiated form (anirupita-rilpana), 
as they do through the aspect of not-self to those who are exercising insight thus 'All 
dhammas are not-self (Dhp 279; Th 678; M 1 230; II 64; S III 132; A I 286; IV 14; Patis II 
48, 62; Vin I 86. Cf. also A III 444; IV 88, 338; Sn 1076). And those do not escape this 
difficulty who say that the Enlightened One's knowledge occurs with the characteristic 
of presence of all knowable dhammas as its objective field, devoid of discriminative 
thinking (vikappa-rahita), and universal in time (sabba-kala) and that is why they are 
called 'All-seeing' and why it is said, 'The Naga is concentrated walking and he is 
concentrated standing' (?). 

They do not escape the difficulty since the Blessed One's knowledge would then 
have only a partial objective field, because, by having the characteristic of presence as 
its object, past, future and conventional dhammas, which lack that characteristic, would 
be absent. So it is wrong to say that it occurs simultaneously with respect to every 
objective field. Then secondly if we say that it occurs successively with respect to 
every objective field, that is wrong too. For when the knowable, classed in the many 
different ways according to birth, place, individual essence, etc., and direction, place, 
time, etc., is apprehended successively, then penetration without remainder is not 
effected since the knowable is infinite. And those are wrong too who say that the 
Blessed One is All-seeing owing to his doing his defining by taking one part of the 
knowable as that actually experienced (paccakkha) and deciding that the rest is the 
same because of the unequivocalness of its meaning, and that such knowledge is not 



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31. [Virtuous] conduct should be understood as fifteen things, that is to say: 
restraint by virtue, guarding of the sense faculties, knowledge of the right amount 
in eating, devotion to wakefulness, the seven good states, 8 and the four jhanas of 
the fine-material sphere. For it is precisely by means of these fifteen things that a 
noble disciple conducts himself, that he goes towards the deathless. That is why 
it is called "[virtuous] conduct," according as it is said, "Here, Mahanama, a 
noble disciple has virtue" (M I 355), etc, the whole of which should be understood 
as given in the Middle Fifty [of the Majjhima Nikaya]. 



inferential (anumanika) since it is free from doubt, because it is what is doubtfully 
discovered that is meant by inferential knowledge in the world. And they are wrong 
because there is no such defining by taking one part of the knowable as that actually 
experienced and deciding that the rest is the same because of the unequivocalness of its 
meaning, without making all of it actually experienced. For then that 'rest' is not actually 
experienced; and if it were actually experienced, it would no longer be 'the rest.' 

"All that is no argument. — Why not? — Because this is not a field for ratiocination; 
for the Blessed One has said this: 'The objective field of Enlightened Ones is 
unthinkable, it cannot be thought out; anyone who tried to think it out would reap 
madness and frustration' (A II 80). The agreed explanation here is this: Whatever the 
Blessed One wants to know — either entirely or partially — there his knowledge occurs 
as actual experience because it does so without hindrance. And it has constant 
concentration because of the absence of distraction. And it cannot occur in association 
with wishing of a kind that is due to absence from the objective field of something that 
he wants to know. There can be no exception to this because of the words, 'All dhammas 
are available to the adverting of the Enlightened One, the Blessed One, are available at 
his wish, are available to his attention, are available to his thought' (Patis II 195). And 
the Blessed One's knowledge that has the past and future as its objective field is 
entirely actual experience since it is devoid of assumption based on inference, tradition 
or conjecture. 

"And yet, even in that case, suppose he wanted to know the whole in its entirety 
then would his knowledge not occur without differentiation in the whole objective 
field simultaneously? And so there would still be no getting out of that difficulty? 
"That is not so, because of its purifiedness. Because the Enlightened One's objective 
field is purified and it is unthinkable. Otherwise there would be no unthinkableness in 
the knowledge of the Enlightened One, the Blessed One, if it occurred in the same way 
as that of ordinary people. So, although it occurs with all dhammas as its object, it 
nevertheless does so making those dhammas quite clearly defined, as though it had 
a single dhamma as its object. This is what is unthinkable here. ' 

There is as much knowledge as there is knowable, there is as much knowable as 
there is knowledge; the knowledge is limited by the knowable, the knowable is limited 
by the knowledge' (Patis II 195). So he is Fully Enlightened because he has rightly and 
by himself discovered all dhammas together and separately, simultaneously and 
successively according to his wish' (Vism-mht 190-91). 

8. A possessor of "the seven" has faith, conscience, shame, learning, energy, 
mindfulness, and understanding (see D III 252). PED traces saddhamma (as "the true 
dhamma," etc.) to sunt + dhamma; but it is as likely traceable to srad + dhamma = (good 
ground) for the placing of faith (saddha). 

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[203] Now, the Blessed One is endowed with these kinds of clear vision and 
with this conduct as well; hence he is called "endowed with [clear] vision and 
[virtuous] conduct." 

32. Herein, the Blessed One's possession of clear vision consists in the 
fulfilment of omniscience (Patis I 131), while his possession of conduct consists 
in the fulfilment of the great compassion (Patis I 126). He knows through 
omniscience what is good and harmful for all beings, and through compassion 
he warns them of harm and exhorts them to do good. That is how he is possessed 
of clear vision and conduct, which is why his disciples have entered upon the 
good way instead of entering upon the bad way as the self-mortifying disciples 
of those who are not possessed of clear vision and conduct have done. 9 

[Sublime] 

33. He is called sublime (sugata) 10 (i) because of a manner of going that is good 
(sobhana-gamana), (ii) because of being gone to an excellent place (sundaram 

9. "Here the Master's possession of vision shows the greatness of understanding, 
and his possession of conduct the greatness of his compassion. It was through 
understanding that the Blessed One reached the kingdom of the Dhamma, and through 
compassion that he became the bestower of the Dhamma. It was through 
understanding that he felt revulsion for the round of rebirths, and through compassion 
that he bore it. It was through understanding that he fully understood others' suffering, 
and through compassion that he undertook to counteract it. It was through 
understanding that he was brought face to face with Nibbana, and through compassion 
that he attained it. It was through understanding that he himself crossed over, and 
through compassion that he brought others across. It was through understanding 
that he perfected the Enlightened One's state, and through compassion that he perfected 
the Enlightened One's task. 

"Or it was through compassion that he faced the round of rebirths as a Bodhisatta, 
and through understanding that he took no delight in it. Likewise it was through 
compassion that he practiced non-cruelty to others, and through understanding that 
he was himself fearless of others. It was through compassion that he protected others 
to protect himself, and through understanding that he protected himself to protect 
others. Likewise it was through compassion that he did not torment others, and 
through understanding that he did not torment himself; so of the four types of persons 
beginning with the one who practices for his own welfare (A II 96) he perfected the 
fourth and best type. Likewise it was through compassion that he became the world's 
helper, and through understanding that he became his own helper. It was through 
compassion that he had humility [as a Bodhisatta], and through understanding that 
he had dignity [as a Buddha]. Likewise it was through compassion that he helped all 
beings as a father while owing to the understanding associated with it his mind 
remained detached from them all, and it was through understanding that his mind 
remained detached from all dhammas while owing to the compassion associated with 
it that he was helpful to all beings. For just as the Blessed One's compassion was 
devoid of sentimental affection or sorrow, so his understanding was free from the 
thoughts of T and 'mine'" (Vism-mht 192-93). 

10. The following renderings have been adopted for the most widely-used epithets 
for the Buddha. Tathagata, (Perfect One — for definitions see M-a 1 45f.) Bhagavant (Blessed 

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thanam gatatta), (iii) because of having gone rightly (sammagatatta) , and (iv) 
because of enunciating rightly (sammagadatta). 

(i) A manner of going (gamana) is called "gone" (gata), and that in the Blessed 
One is good (sobhana), purified, blameless. But what is that? It is the noble path; 
for by means of that manner of going he has "gone" without attachment in the 
direction of safety — thus he is sublime (sugata) because of a manner of going that 
is good. 

(ii) And it is to the excellent (sundara) place that he has gone {gata), to the 
deathless Nibbana — thus he is sublime (sugata) also because of having gone to 
an excellent place. 

34. (iii) And he has rightly (samma) gone (gata), without going back again to 
the defilements abandoned by each path. For this is said: "He does not again 
turn, return, go back, to the defilements abandoned by the stream entry path, 
thus he is sublime ... he does not again turn, return, go back, to the defilements 
abandoned by the Arahant path, thus he is sublime" (old commentary?). Or 
alternatively, he has rightly gone from the time of [making his resolution] at the 
feet of Dipahkara up till the Enlightenment Session, by working for the welfare 
and happiness of the whole world through the fulfilment of the thirty perfections 
and through following the right way without deviating towards either of the 
two extremes, that is to say, towards eternalism or annihilationism, towards 
indulgence in sense pleasures or self-mortification — thus he is sublime also 
because of having gone rightly. 

35. (iv) And he enunciates 11 (gadati) rightly (samma); he speaks only fitting 
speech in the fitting place — thus he is sublime also because of enunciating 
rightly. 

Here is a sutta that confirms this: "Such speech as the Perfect One knows to be 
untrue and incorrect, conducive to harm, and displeasing and unwelcome to 
others, that he does not speak. And such speech as the Perfect One knows to be 
true and correct, but conducive to harm, and displeasing and unwelcome to 
others, that he does not speak. [204] And such speech as the Perfect One knows 
to be true and correct, conducive to good, but displeasing and unwelcome to 
others, that speech the Perfect One knows the time to expound. Such speech as 
the Perfect One knows to be untrue and incorrect, and conducive to harm, but 
pleasing and welcome to others, that he does not speak. And such speech as the 
Perfect One knows to be true and correct, but conducive to harm, though pleasing 
and welcome to others, that he does not speak. And such speech as the Perfect 
One knows to be true and correct, conducive to good, and pleasing and welcome 
to others, that speech the Perfect One knows the time to expound" (M I 395) — 
thus he is sublime also because of enunciating rightly. 



One), Sugata (Sublime One). These renderings do not pretend to literalness. Attempts 
to be literal here are apt to produce a bizarre or quaint effect, and for that very reason 
fail to render what is in the Pali. 
11. Gadati — "to enunciate": only noun gada in PED. 



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[Knower of Worlds] 

36. He is the knower ofivorlds because he has known the world in all ways. For 
the Blessed One has experienced, known and penetrated the world in all ways to 
its individual essence, its arising, its cessation, and the means to its cessation, 
according as it is said: "Friend, that there is a world's end where one neither is 
born nor ages nor dies nor passes away nor reappears, which is to be known or 
seen or reached by travel — that I do not say. Yet I do not say that there is ending 
of suffering without reaching the world's end. Rather, it is in this fathom-long 
carcass with its perceptions and its consciousness that I make known the world, 
the arising of the world, the cessation of the world, and the way leading to the 
cessation of the world. 

"Tis utterly impossible 

To reach by travel the world's end; 

But there is no escape from pain 

Until the world's end has been reached. 

It is a sage, a knower of the worlds, 

Who gets to the world's end, and it is he 

Whose life divine is lived out to its term; 

He is at peace who the world's end has known 

And hopes for neither this world nor the next" (S I 62). 

37. Moreover, there are three worlds: the world of formations, the world of 
beings, and the world of location. Herein, in the passage, "One world: all beings 
subsist by nutriment" (Patis I 122), [205] the world of formations is to be 
understood. In the passage, "'The world is eternal' or 'The world is not eternal'" 
(M I 426) it is the world of beings. In the passage: 

"As far as moon and sun do circulate 

Shining 12 and lighting up the [four] directions, 

Over a thousand times as great a world 

Your power holds unquestionable sway" (M I 328) — 

it is the world of location. The Blessed One has known that in all ways too. 

38. Likewise, because of the words: "One world: all beings subsist by nutriment. 
Two worlds: mentality and materiality. Three worlds: three kinds of feeling. Four 
worlds: four kinds of nutriment. Five worlds: five aggregates as objects of clinging. 
Six worlds: six internal bases. Seven worlds: seven stations of consciousness. 
Eight worlds: eight worldly states. Nine worlds: nine abodes of beings. Ten worlds: 
ten bases. Twelve worlds: twelve bases. Eighteen worlds: eighteen elements" (Patis I 
122), 13 this world of formations was known to him in all ways. 

39. But he knows all beings' habits, knows their inherent tendencies, knows 
their temperaments, knows their bents, knows them as with little dust on their 
eyes and with much dust on their eyes, with keen faculties and with dull faculties, 
with good behaviour and with bad behaviour, easy to teach and hard to teach, 

12. Bhanti — "they shine": this form is not given in PED under bhati. 

13. To take what is not self-evident in this paragraph, three kinds of feeling are pleasant, 
painful and neither-painful-nor-pleasant (see MN 59). Four kinds of nutriment are physical 



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capable and incapable [of achievement] (cf. Patis I 121), therefore this world of 
beings was known to him in all ways. 

40. And as the world of beings so also the world of location. For accordingly 
this [world measures as follows]: 

One world-sphere 14 is twelve hundred thousand leagues and thirty-four 
hundred and fifty leagues (1,203,450) in breadth and width. In circumference, 
however: 

[The measure of it] all around 

Is six and thirty hundred thousand 

And then ten thousand in addition, 

Four hundred too less half a hundred (3,610,350). 

nutriment, contact, mental volition, and consciousness (see M I 48, and M-a I 207£). 
The seven stations of consciousness are: (1) sense sphere, (2) Brahma's Retinue, (3) 
Abhassara (Brahma-world) Deities, (4) Subhakinna (Brahma-world) Deities, (5) base 
consisting of boundless space, (6) base consisting of boundless consciousness, (7) 
base consisting of nothingness (see D III 253). The eight worldly states are gain, fame, 
praise, pleasure, and their opposites (see D III 260). The nine abodes of beings: (1-4) as in 
stations of consciousness, (5) unconscious beings, (6-9) the four immaterial states 
(see D III 263). The ten bases are eye, ear, nose, tongue, body, visible object, sound, 
odour, flavour, tangible object. 

14. Cakkavala (world-sphere or universe) is a term for the concept of a single complete 
universe as one of an infinite number of such universes. This concept of the cosmos, 
in its general form, is not peculiar to Buddhism, but appears to have been the already 
generally accepted one. The term loka-dhatu (world-element), in its most restricted 
sense, is one world-sphere, but it can be extended to mean any number, for example, 
the set of world-spheres dominated by a particular Brahma (see MN 120). 

As thus conceived, a circle of "world-sphere mountains" "like the rim of a wheel" 
(cakka — Vism-mht 198) encloses the ocean. In the centre of the ocean stands Mount 
Sineru (or Meru), surrounded by seven concentric rings of mountains separated by 
rings of sea. In the ocean between the outermost of these seven rings and the enclosing 
"world-sphere mountain" ring are the "four continents." 

"Over forty-two thousand leagues away" (Dhs-a 313) the moon and the sun circulate 
above them inside the world-sphere mountain ring, and night is the effect of the sun's 
going behind Sineru. The orbits of the moon and sun are in the sense-sphere heaven 
of the Four Kings (Catumaharaja), the lowest heaven, which is a layer extending from 
the world-sphere mountains to the slopes of Sineru. The stars are on both sides of 
them (Dhs-a 318). Above that come the successive layers of the other five sense- 
sphere heavens — the four highest not touching the earth — and above them the 
fine-material Brahma-worlds, the higher of which extend over more than one world- 
sphere (see A V 59). The world-sphere rests on water, which rests on air, which rests 
on space. World-spheres "lie adjacent to each other in contact like bowls, leaving a 
triangular unlit space between each three" (Vism-mht 199), called a "world-interspace" 
(see too M-a IV 178). Their numbers extend thus in all four directions to infinity on the 
supporting water's surface. 

The southern continent of Jambudipa is the known inhabited world (but see e.g. 
DN 26). Various hells (see e.g. MN 130; A V 173; Vin III 107) are below the earth's 
surface. The lowest sensual-sphere heaven is that of the Deities of the Four Kings 

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41. Herein: 

Two times a hundred thousand leagues 
And then four nahutas as well (240,000): 
This earth, this "Bearer of All Wealth," 
Has that much thickness, as they tell. 
And its support: 

Four times a hundred thousand leagues 
And then eight nahutas as well (480,000): 
The water resting on the air 
Has that much thickness, as they tell. 

And the support of that: [206] 

Nine times a hundred thousand goes 
The air out in the firmament 
And sixty thousand more besides (960,000) 
So this much is the world's extent. 

42. Such is its extent. And these features are to be found in it: 

Sineru, tallest of all mountains, plunges down into the sea 

Full four and eighty thousand leagues, and towers up in like degree 

Seven concentric mountain rings surround Sineru in suchwise 

That each of them in depth and height is half its predecessor's size: 

Vast ranges called Yugandhara, Isadhara, Karavika, 

Sudassana, Nemindhara, Vinataka, Assakanna. 

Heavenly [breezes fan] their cliffs agleam with gems, and here reside 

The Four Kings of the Cardinal Points, and other gods and sprites beside. 15 

Himalaya's lofty mountain mass rises in height five hundred leagues 

And in its width and in its breadth it covers quite three thousand leagues, 

And then it is bedecked besides with four and eighty thousand peaks. 16 

(Catumaharajika). The four are Dhatarattha Gandhabba-raja (King of the East), Virulha 
Kumbhanda-raja (King of the South), Virupaka Naga-raja (King of the West), and 
Kuvera or Vessavana Yakkha-raja (King of the North — see DN 32). Here the moon 
and sun circulate. The deities of this heaven are often at war with the Asura demons 
(see e.g. D II 285) for possession of the lower slopes of Sineru. The next higher is 
Tavatimsa (the Heaven of the Thirty-three), governed by Sakka, Ruler of Gods (sakka- 
devinda). Above this is the heaven of the Yama Deities (Deities who have Gone to Bliss) 
ruled by King Suyama (not to be confused with Yama King of the Underworld — see M 
III 179). Higher still come the Deities of the Tusita (Contented) Heaven with King 
Santusita. The fifth of these heavens is that of the Nimmanarati Deities (Deities who 
Delight in Creating) ruled by King Sunimmita. The last and highest of the sensual- 
sphere heavens is the Paranimmitavasavatti Heaven (Deities who Wield Power over 
Others' Creations). Their king is Vasavatti (see A I 227; for details see Vibh-a 519f.). 
Mara (Death) lives in a remote part of this heaven with his hosts, like a rebel with a 
band of brigands (M-a I 33f.). For destruction and renewal of all this at the end of the 
aeon, see Ch. XIII. 

15. "Sineru is not only 84,000 leagues in height but measures the same in width and 
breadth. For this is said: 'Bhikkhus, Sineru, king of mountains, is eighty-four thousand 



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The Jambu Tree called Naga lends the name, by its magnificence, 
To Jambudipa's land; its trunk, thrice five leagues in circumference, 
Soars fifty leagues, and bears all round branches of equal amplitude, 
So that a hundred leagues define diameter and altitude. 

43. The World-sphere Mountains' line of summits plunges down into the sea 
Just two and eighty thousand leagues, and towers up in like degree, 
Enringing one world-element all round in its entirety. 

And the size of the Jambu (Rose-apple) Tree is the same as that of the 
Citrapataliya Tree of the Asura demons, the Simbali Tree of the Garula demons, 
the Kadamba Tree in [the western continent of] Aparagoyana, the Kappa Tree 
[in the northern continent] of the Uttarakurus, the Sirisa Tree in [the eastern 
continent of] Pubbavideha, and the Paricchattaka Tree [in the heaven] of the 
Deities of the Thirty-three (Tavatimsa). 17 Hence the Ancients said: 

The Patali, Simbali, and Jambu, the deities' Paricchattaka, 
The Kadamba, the Kappa Tree and the Sirisa as the seventh. 

44. [207] Herein, the moon's disk is forty-nine leagues [across] and the sun's 
disk is fifty leagues. The realm of Tavatimsa (the Thirty-three Gods) is ten 
thousand leagues. Likewise the realm of the Asura demons, the great Avici 
(unremitting) Hell, and Jambudipa (India). Aparagoyana is seven thousand 
leagues. Likewise Pubbavideha. Uttarakuru is eight thousand leagues. And 
herein, each great continent is surrounded by five hundred small islands. And 
the whole of that constitutes a single world-sphere, a single world-element. 
Between [this and the adjacent world-spheres] are the Lokantarika (world- 
interspace) hells. 18 So the world-spheres are infinite in number, the world- 
elements are infinite, and the Blessed One has experienced, known and penetrated 
them with the infinite knowledge of the Enlightened Ones. 

45. Therefore this world of location was known to him in all ways too. So he is 
"knower of worlds" because he has seen the world in all ways. 

leagues in width and it is eighty-four thousand leagues in breadth' (A IV 100). Each of 
the seven surrounding mountains is half as high as that last mentioned, that is, 
Yugandhara is half as high as Sineru, and so on. The great ocean gradually slopes 
from the foot of the world-sphere mountains down as far as the foot of Sineru, where 
it measures in depth as much as Sineru's height. And Yugandhara, which is half that 
height, rests on the earth as Isadhara and the rest do; for it is said: 'Bhikkhus, the 
great ocean gradually slopes, gradually tends, gradually inclines' (Ud 53). Between 
Sineru and Yugandhara and so on, the oceans are called 'bottomless' (sldanta). Their 
widths correspond respectively to the heights of Sineru and the rest. The mountains 
stand all round Sineru, enclosing it, as it were. Yugandhara surrounds Sineru, then 
Isadhara surrounds Yugandhara, and likewise with the others" (Vism-mht 199). 

16. For the commentarial descriptions of Himavant (Himalaya) with its five peaks 
and seven great lakes, see M-a III 54. 

17. A-a commenting on A I 35 ascribes the Simbali Tree to the Supannas or winged 
demons. The commentary to Ud 5.5, incidentally, gives a further account of all these 
things, only a small portion of which are found in the Suttas. 

18. See note 14. 



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[Incomparable Leader of Men to be Tamed] 

46. In the absence of anyone more distinguished for special qualities than 
himself, there is no one to compare with him, thus he is incomparable. For in this 
way he surpasses the whole world in the special quality of virtue, and also in the 
special qualities of concentration, understanding, deliverance, and knowledge 
and vision of deliverance. In the special quality of virtue he is without equal, he 
is the equal only of those [other Enlightened Ones] without equal, he is without 
like, without double, without counterpart; ... in the special quality of 
knowledge and vision of deliverance he is ... without counterpart, according 
as it is said: "I do not see in the world with its deities, its Maras and its 
Brahmas, in this generation with its ascetics and brahmans, with its princes 
and men," anyone more perfect in virtue than myself" (S I 139), with the rest in 
detail, and likewise in the Aggappasada Sutta (A II 34; It 87), and so on, and in 
the stanzas beginning, "I have no teacher and my like does not exist in all the 
world" (M I 171), all of which should be taken in detail. 

47. He guides (sareti) men to be tamed (purisa-damme), thus he is leader of 
men to be tamed (purisadammasarathi); he tames, he disciplines, is what is 
meant. Herein, animal males (purisa) and human males, and non-human 
males that are not tamed but fit to be tamed (dametum yutta) are "men to be 
tamed" (purisadamma). For the animal males, namely, the royal naga (serpent) 
Apalala, Culodara, Mahodara, Aggisikha, Dhumasikha, the royal naga 
Aravala, the elephant Dhanapalaka, and so on, were tamed by the Blessed 
One, freed from the poison [of defilement] and established in the refuges and 
the precepts of virtue; and also the human males, namely, Saccaka the 
Niganthas' (Jains') son, the brahman student Ambattha, [208] Pokkharasati, 
Sonadanda, Kutadanta, and so on; and also the non-human males, namely, 
the spirits Alavaka, Suciloma and Kharaloma, Sakka Ruler of Gods, etc., 20 
were tamed and disciplined by various disciplinary means. And the following 
sutta should be given in full here: "I discipline men to be tamed sometimes 
gently, Kesi, and I discipline them sometimes roughly, and I discipline them 
sometimes gently and roughly" (A II 112). 

48. Then the Blessed One moreover further tames those already tamed, doing 
so by announcing the first jhana, etc., respectively to those whose virtue is 
purified, etc., and also the way to the higher path to stream enterers, and so on. 

19. The rendering of sadevamanussanam by "with its princes and men" is supported 
by the commentary. See M-a II 20 and also M-a I 33 where the use of sammuti-deva for 
a royal personage, not an actual god is explained. Deva is the normal mode of addressing 
a king. Besides, the first half of the sentence deals with deities and it would be out of 
place to refer to them again in the clause related to mankind. 

20. The references are these: Apalala (Mahavamsa, p. 242), "Dwelling in the Himalayas" 
(Vism-mht 202), Culodara and Mahodara (Mhv pp. 7-8; Dip pp. 21-23), Aggisikha and 
Dhumasikha ("Inhabitant of Sri Lanka" — Vism-mht 202), Aravala and Dhanapalaka 
(Vin II 194-96; J-a V 333-37), Saccaka (MN 35 and 36), Ambattha (DN 3), Pokkharasati 
(D I 109), Sonadanda (DN 4), Kutadanta (DN 5), Alavaka (Sn p. 31), Suciloma and 
Kharaloma (Sn p. 47f.), Sakka (D I 263f.). 

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Or alternatively, the words incomparable leader of men to be tamed can be taken 
together as one clause. For the Blessed One so guides men to be tamed that in a 
single session they may go in the eight directions [by the eight liberations] 
without hesitation. Thus he is called the incomparable leader of men to be tamed. 
And the following sutta passage should be given in full here: "Guided by the 
elephant-tamer, bhikkhus, the elephant to be tamed goes in one direction ..." 
(M III 222). 

[Teacher of Gods and Men] 

49. He teaches (anusasati) by means of the here and now, of the life to come, and 
of the ultimate goal, according as befits the case, thus he is the Teacher (satthar). 
And furthermore this meaning should be understood according to the Niddesa 
thus: "'Teacher (satthar)': the Blessed One is a caravan leader (satthar) since he 
brings home caravans (sattha). Just as one who brings a caravan home gets 
caravans across a wilderness, gets them across a robber-infested wilderness, 
gets them across a wild-beast-infested wilderness, gets them across a foodless 
wilderness, gets them across a waterless wilderness, gets them right across, gets 
them quite across, gets them properly across, gets them to reach a land of safety, 
so too the Blessed One is a caravan leader, one who brings home the caravans, he 
gets them across a wilderness, gets them across the wilderness of birth" (Nidd 
I 446). 

50. Of gods and men: devamanussanam = devanan ca manussanan ca (resolution of 
compound). This is said in order to denote those who are the best and also to 
denote those persons capable of progress. For the Blessed One as a teacher 
bestowed his teaching upon animals as well. For when animals can, through 
listening to the Blessed One's Dhamma, acquire the benefit of a [suitable rebirth 
as] support [for progress], and with the benefit of that same support they come, 
in their second or third rebirth, to partake of the path and its fruition. 

51. Manduka, the deity's son, and others illustrate this. While the Blessed One 
was teaching the Dhamma to the inhabitants of the city of Campa on the banks 
of the Gaggara Lake, it seems, a frog (manduka) apprehended a sign in the 
Blessed One's voice. [209] A cowherd who was standing leaning on a stick put 
his stick on the frog's head and crushed it. He died and was straight away 
reborn in a gilded, divine palace, twelve leagues broad in the realm of the Thirty- 
three (Tavatimsa). He found himself there, as if waking up from sleep, amidst a 
host of celestial nymphs, and he exclaimed, "So I have actually been reborn here. 
What deed did I do?" When he sought for the reason, he found it was none other 
than his apprehension of the sign in the Blessed One's voice. He went with his 
divine palace at once to the Blessed One and paid homage at his feet. Though 
the Blessed One knew about it, he asked him: 

"Who now pays homage at my feet, 
Shining with glory of success, 
Illuminating all around 
With beauty so outstanding?" 



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"In my last life I was a frog, 

The waters of a pond my home; 

A cowherd's crook ended my life 

While listening to your Dhamma" (Vv 49). 

The Blessed One taught him the Dhamma. Eighty-four thousand creatures 
gained penetration to the Dhamma. As soon as the deity's son became established 
in the fruition of stream-entry he smiled and then vanished. 

[Enlightened] 

52. He is enlightened (buddha) with the knowledge that belongs to the fruit of 
liberation, since everything that can be known has been discovered (buddha) by him. 

Or alternatively, he discovered (bujjhi) the four truths by himself and awakened 
(bodhesi) others to them, thus and for other such reasons he is enlightened 
(buddha). And in order to explain this meaning the whole passage in the Niddesa 
beginning thus: "He is the discoverer (bujjhitar) of the truths, thus he is 
enlightened (buddha). He is the awakened (bodhetar) of the generation, thus he is 
enlightened (buddha)" (Nidd I 457), or the same passage from the Patisambhida 
(Patis I 174), should be quoted in detail. 

[Blessed] 

53. Blessed (bhagavant) is a term signifying the respect and veneration accorded 
to him as the highest of all beings and distinguished by his special qualities. 21 
Hence the Ancients said: 

"Blessed" is the best of words, 
"Blessed" is the finest word; 
Deserving awe and veneration, 
Blessed is the name therefore. 

54. Or alternatively, names are of four kinds: denoting a period of life, describing 
a particular mark, signifying a particular acquirement, and fortuitously arisen, 22 
which last in the current usage of the world is called "capricious." Herein, [210] 
names denoting a period of life are those such as "yearling calf" (vaccha), "steer 
to be trained" (damma), "yoke ox" (balivaddha) , and the like. Names describing a 
particular mark are those such as "staff-bearer" (dandin), "umbrella-bearer" 
(chattin), "topknot-wearer" (sikhiri), "hand possessor" (karin — elephant), and 
the like. Names signifying a particular acquirement are those such as "possessor of 
the threefold clear vision" (tevijja), "possessor of the six direct-knowledges" 
(chalabhinha) , and the like. Such names are Sirivaddhaka ("Augmenter of 

21. For the breaking up of this compound cf. parallel passage at M-a I 10. 

22. Avatthika — "denoting a period in life" (from avattha, see IV167); not in PED; the 
meaning given in the PED for lihgika — "describing a particular mark," is hardly adequate 
for this ref.; nemittika — "signifying a particular acquirement" is not in this sense in 
PED. For more on names see Dhs-a 390. 

23. The commentarial name for the Elder Sariputta to whom the authorship of the 
Patisambhida is traditionally attributed. The Patisambhida text has "Buddha," not 
"Bhagava." 

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Lustre"), Dhanavaddhaka ("Augmenter of Wealth"), etc., are fortuitously arisen 
names; they have no reference to the word-meanings. 

55. This name, Blessed, is one signifying a particular acquirement; it is not 
made by Maha-Maya, or by King Suddhodana, or by the eighty thousand 
kinsmen, or by distinguished deities like Sakka, Santusita, and others. And this 
is said by the General of the Law: 23 "'Blessed': this is not a name made by a 
mother ... This [name] 'Buddha,' which signifies final liberation, is a realistic 
description of Buddhas (Enlightened Ones), the Blessed Ones, together with 
their obtainment of omniscient knowledge at the root of an Enlightenment [Tree]" 
(Patis I 174; Nidd I 143). 

56. Now, in order to explain also the special qualities signified by this name 
they cite the following stanza: 

Bhagl bhajl bhagl vibhattava iti 
Akasi bhaggan ti garu ti bhagyava 
Bahuhi nayehi subhavitattano 
Bhavantago so bhagava ti vuccati. 

The reverend one (garu) has blessings (bhagl), is a frequenter (bhajl), a partaker 
(bhagl), a possessor of what has been analyzed (vibhattava); 

He has caused abolishing (bhagga), he is fortunate (bhagyava), 

He has fully developed himself (subhavitattano) in many ways; 

He has gone to the end of becoming (bhavantago); thus is called "Blessed" 
(bhagava). 

The meaning of these words should be understood according to the method 
of explanation given in the Niddesa (Nidd I 142). 24 

24. "The Niddesa method is this: 'The word Blessed (bhagava) is a term of respect. 
Moreover, he has abolished (bhagga) greed, thus he is blessed (bhagava); he has 
abolished hate, . . . delusion, . . . views, . . . craving, . . . defilement, thus he is blessed. 

"'He divided (bhaji), analyzed (vibhaji), and classified (pativibhaji) the Dhamma 
treasure, thus he is blessed (bhagava). He makes an end of the kinds of becoming 
(bhavanam antakaroti), thus he is blessed (bhagava). He has developed (bhavita) the body 
and virtue and the mind and understanding, thus he is blessed (bhagava). 

"'Or the Blessed One is a frequenter (bhajl) of remote jungle-thicket resting places 
with little noise, with few voices, with a lonely atmosphere, where one can lie hidden 
from people, favourable to retreat, thus he is blessed (bhagava). 

"'Or the Blessed One is a partaker (bhagl) of robes, alms food, resting place, and the 
requisite of medicine as cure for the sick, thus he is blessed (bhagava). Or he is a 
partaker of the taste of meaning, the taste of the Law, the taste of deliverance, the 
higher virtue, the higher consciousness, the higher understanding, thus he is blessed 
(bhagava). Or he is a partaker of the four jhanas, the four measureless states, the four 
immaterial states, thus he is blessed. Or he is a partaker of the eight liberations, the 
eight bases of mastery, the nine successive attainments, thus he is blessed. Or he is a 
partaker of the ten developments of perception, the ten kasina attainments, 
concentration due to mindfulness of breathing, the attainment due to foulness, thus 
he is blessed. Or he is a partaker of the ten powers of Perfect Ones (see MN 12), of the 



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57. But there is this other way: 

Bhagyava bhaggava yutto bhagehi ca vibhattava. 
Bhattava vanta-gamano bhavesu: bhagava tato. 

He is fortunate (bhagyava), possessed of abolishment (bhaggava), associated 
with blessings (yutto bhagehi), and a possessor of what has been analyzed 
(vibhattava). 

He has frequented (bhattava), and he has rejected going in the kinds of 
becoming (VAnta-GAmano BHAvesu), thus he is Blessed (Bhagava). 

58. Herein, by using the characteristic of language beginning with "vowel 
augmentation of syllable, elision of syllable" (see Kasika VI. 3. 109), or by using 
the characteristic of insertion beginning with [the example of] pisodara, etc. (see 
Panini, Ganapatha 6, 3, 109), it may be known that he [can also] be called "blessed" 
(bhagava) when he can be called "fortunate" (bhagyava) owing to the 
fortunateness (bhagya) to have reached the further shore [of the ocean of 
perfection] of giving, virtue, etc., which produce mundane and supramundane 
bliss (See Khp-a 108.). 

59. [Similarly], he [can also] be called "blessed" (bhagava) when he can be 
called "possessed of abolishment" (bhaggava) owing to the following menaces 
having been abolished; for he has abolished (abhahji) all the hundred thousand 
kinds of trouble, anxiety and defilement classed as greed, as hate, as delusion, 
and as misdirected attention; as consciencelessness and shamelessness, as anger 
and enmity, as contempt and domineering, as envy and avarice, as deceit and 
fraud, as obduracy and presumption, as pride and haughtiness, as vanity and 
negligence, as craving and ignorance; as the three roots of the unprofitable, 
kinds of misconduct, defilement, stains, [211] fictitious perceptions, applied 
thoughts, and diversifications; as the four perversenesses, cankers, ties, floods, 
bonds, bad ways, cravings, and clingings; as the five wildernesses in the heart, 
shackles in the heart, hindrances, and kinds of delight; as the six roots of discord, 
and groups of craving; as the seven inherent tendencies; as the eight 
wrongnesses; as the nine things rooted in craving; as the ten courses of 
unprofitable action; as the sixty-two kinds of [false] view; as the hundred and 
eight ways of behaviour of craving 25 — or in brief, the five Maras, that is to say, the 

four kinds of perfect confidence (ibid), of the four discriminations, of the six kinds of 
direct knowledge, of the six Enlightened Ones' states [not shared by disciples (see note 7)], 
thus he is blessed. Blessed One (bhagava): this is not a name made by a mother . . . This 
name, Blessed One, is a designation based on realization"' (Vism-mht 207). 
25. Here are explanations of those things in this list that cannot be discovered by 
reference to the index: The pairs, "anger and enmity" to "conceit and negligence (M I 
16). The "three roots" are greed, hate, and delusion (D III 214). The "three kinds of 
misconduct" are that of body, speech, and mind (S V 75). The "three defilements" are 
misconduct, craving and views (Ch. 1.9,13). The "three erroneous perceptions" (visama- 
sanna) are those connected with greed, hate, and delusion (Vibh 368). The three "applied 
thoughts" are thoughts of sense-desire, ill will, and cruelty (M I 114). The "three 
diversifications" (papanca) are those due to craving, conceit, and [false] views (XVI 
n. 17). "Four perversenesses": seeing permanence, pleasure, self, and beauty, where 

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Maras of defilement, of the aggregates, and of kamma-formations, Mara as a 
deity, and Mara as death. 

And in this context it is said: 

He has abolished (bhagga) greed and hate, 
Delusion too, he is canker-free; 
Abolished every evil state, 
"Blessed" his name may rightly be. 

60. And by his fortunateness (bhagyavata) is indicated the excellence of his 
material body which bears a hundred characteristics of merit; and by his having 
abolished defects (bhaggadosata) is indicated the excellence of his Dhamma body. 
Likewise, [by his fortunateness is indicated] the esteem of worldly [people; and 
by his having abolished defects, the esteem of] those who resemble him. [And by 
his fortunateness it is indicated] that he is fit to be relied on 26 by laymen; and [by 
his having abolished defects that he is fit to be relied on by] those gone forth into 
homelessness; and when both have relied on him, they acquire relief from bodily 
and mental pain as well as help with both material and Dhamma gifts, and they 
are rendered capable of finding both mundane and supramundane bliss. 

61. He is also called "blessed" (bhagava) since he is "associated with blessings" 
(bhagehi yuttatta) such as those of the following kind, in the sense that he "has 
those blessings" (bhaga assa santi). Now, in the world the word "blessing" is used 
for six things, namely, lordship, Dhamma, fame, glory wish, and endeavour. He 
has supreme lordship over his own mind, either of the kind reckoned as mundane 
and consisting in "minuteness, lightness," etc., 27 or that complete in all aspects, 
and likewise the supramundane Dhamma. And he has exceedingly pure fame, 
spread through the three worlds, acquired though the special quality of veracity. 
And he has glory of all limbs, perfect in every aspect, which is capable of 
comforting the eyes of people eager to see his material body. And he has his wish, 
in other words, the production of what is wanted, since whatever is wanted and 

there is none (Vibh 376). "Four cankers," etc. (XXII.47ff.). "Five wildernesses" and 
"shackles" (M I 101). "Five kinds of delight": delight in the five aggregates (XVI.93). 
"Six roots of discord": anger, contempt, envy, fraud, evilness of wishes, and adherence 
to one's own view (D III 246). "Nine things rooted in craving" (D III 288-89). "Ten 
courses of unprofitable action": killing, stealing, sexual misconduct, lying, slander, 
harsh speech, gossip, covetousness, ill will, wrong view (M I 47, 286f.). "Sixty- two 
kinds of view": (D I 12ff.; MN 102). "The hundred and eight ways of behaviour of 
craving" (Vibh 400). 

26. Abhigamanlya — "fit to be relied on": abhigacchati not in PED. 

27. Vism-mht says the word "etc." includes the following six: mahima, patti, pakamma, 
Jsita, vasita, and yatthakamavasayita. "Herein, anima means making the body minute (the 
size of an atom — anu). Laghima means lightness of body; walking on air, and so on. 
Mahima means enlargement producing hugeness of the body. Patti means arriving 
where one wants to go. Pakamma means producing what one wants by resolving, and 
so on. Isita means self-mastery lordship. Vasita means mastery of miraculous powers. 
Yatthakamavasayita means attainment of perfection in all ways in one who goes through 
the air or does anything else of the sort" (Vism-mht 210). Yogabhasya 3.45. 



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needed by him as beneficial to himself or others is then and there produced for 
him. And he has the endeavour, in other words, the right effort, which is the 
reason why the whole world venerates him. 

62. [He can also] be called "blessed" (bhagava) when he can be called "a possessor 
of what has been analyzed" (vibhattava) owing to his having analyzed [and 
clarified] all states into the [three] classes beginning with the profitable; or 
profitable, etc., states into such classes as aggregates, bases, elements, truths, 
faculties, dependent origination, etc.; [212] or the noble truth of suffering into 
the senses of oppressing, being formed, burning, and changing; and that of 
origin into the senses of accumulating, source, bond, and impediment; and that 
of cessation into the senses of escape, seclusion, being unformed, and deathless; 
and that of the path into the senses of outlet, cause, seeing, and predominance. 
Having analyzed, having revealed, having shown them, is what is meant. 

63. He [can also] be called "blessed" {bhagava) when he can be called one who 
"has frequented" (bhattava) owing to his having frequented (bhaji), cultivated, 
repeatedly practiced, such mundane and supramundane higher-than-human 
states as the heavenly, the divine, and the noble abidings, 28 as bodily, mental, and 
existential seclusion, as the void, the desireless, and the signless liberations, 
and others as well. 

64. He [can also] be called "blessed" (bhagava) when he can be called one who 
"has rejected going in the kinds of becoming" (vantagamano bhavesu) because in the 
three kinds of becoming (bhava), the going (gamana), in other words, craving, has 
been rejected (vanta) by him. And the syllables bha from the word bhava, and ga 
from the word gamana, and va from the word vanta with the letter a lengthened, 
make the word bhagava, just as is done in the world [of the grammarians outside 
the Dispensation] with the word mekhala (waist-girdle) since "garland for the 
private parts" (MEhanassa KHAssa maLA) can be said. 

65. As long as [the meditator] recollects the special qualities of the Buddha in 
this way, "For this and this reason the Blessed One is accomplished, ... for this 
and this reason he is blessed," then: "On that occasion his mind is not obsessed 
by greed, or obsessed by hate, or obsessed by delusion; his mind has rectitude on 
that occasion, being inspired by the Perfect One" (A III 285). 29 

28. The three "abidings" are these: heavenly abiding = kasina jhana, divine abiding 
= loving-kindness jhana, etc., noble abiding = fruition attainment. For the three kinds 
of seclusion, see IV note 23. 

29. Vism-mht adds seven more plays on the word bhagava, which in brief are these: 
he is bhagava (a possessor of parts) because he has the Dhamma aggregates of virtue, 
etc. (bhaga = part, vant = possessor of). He is bhatava (possessor of what is borne) 
because he has borne (bhata) the perfections to their full development. He has cultivated 
the parts (bhage vani), that is, he has developed the various classes of attainments. He 
has cultivated the blessings (bhage vani), that is, the mundane and supramundane 
blessings. He is bhattava (possessor of devotees) because devoted (bhatta) people 
show devotion (bhatti) to him on account of his attainments. He has rejected blessings 
(bhage vami) such as glory, lordship, fame and so on. He has rejected the parts (bhage 
vami) such as the five aggregates of experience, and so on (Vism-mht 241-46). 

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66. So when he has thus suppressed the hindrances by preventing obsession 
by greed, etc., and his mind faces the meditation subject with rectitude, then his 
applied thought and sustained thought occur with a tendency toward the 
Enlightened One's special qualities. As he continues to exercise applied thought 
and sustained thought upon the Enlightened One's special qualities, happiness 
arises in him. With his mind happy, with happiness as a proximate cause, his 
bodily and mental disturbances are tranquilized by tranquillity. When the 
disturbances have been tranquilized, bodily and mental bliss arise in him. When 
he is blissful, his mind, with the Enlightened One's special qualities for its 
object, becomes concentrated, and so the jhana factors eventually arise in a 
single moment. But owing to the profundity of the Enlightened One's special 
qualities, or else owing to his being occupied in recollecting special qualities of 
many sorts, the jhana is only access and does not reach absorption. And that 
access jhana itself is known as "recollection of the Buddha" too, because it 
arises with the recollection of the Enlightened One's special qualities as the 
means. 

67. When a bhikkhu is devoted to this recollection of the Buddha, he is respectful 
and deferential towards the Master. He attains fullness of faith, mindfulness, 
understanding and merit. He has much happiness and gladness. He conquers 
fear and dread. [213] He is able to endure pain. He comes to feel as if he were 
living in the Master's presence. And his body, when the recollection of the 
Buddha's special qualities dwells in it, becomes as worthy of veneration as a 
shrine room. His mind tends toward the plane of the Buddhas. When he 
encounters an opportunity for transgression, he has awareness of conscience 
and shame as vivid as though he were face to face with the Master. And if he 
penetrates no higher, he is at least headed for a happy destiny. 

Now, when a man is truly wise, 
His constant task will surely be 
This recollection of the Buddha 
Blessed with such mighty potency. 

This, firstly, is the section dealing with the recollection of the Enlightened 
One in the detailed explanation. 

[(2) Recollection of the Dhamma] 

68. One who wants to develop the recollection of the Dhamma (Law) should go 
into solitary retreat and recollect the special qualities of both the Dhamma (Law) of 
the scriptures and the ninefold supramundane Dhamma (state) as follows: 



As to the word "bhattava": at VII. 63, it is explained as "one who has frequented 
(bhaji) attainments." In this sense the attainments have been "frequented" (bhatta) by 
him Vism-mht (214 f.). uses the same word in another sense as "possessor of 
devotees," expanding it as bhatta dalhabhattika assa bahu atthi ("he has many devoted 
firm devotees" — Skr. bhakta). In PED under bhattavant (citing also Vism 212) only the 
second meaning is given. Bhatta is from the same root (bhaj) in both cases. 

For a short exposition of this recollection see commentary to AN 1:16.1. 

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"The Dhamma is well proclaimed by the Blessed One, visible here and now, 
not delayed (timeless), inviting of inspection, onward-leading, and directly 
experienceable by the wise" (M I 37; A III 285). 

[Well Proclaimed] 

69. Well proclaimed: in this clause the Dhamma of the scriptures is included as 
well as the other; in the rest of the clauses only the supramundane Dhamma is 
included. 

Herein, the Dhamma of the scriptures is well proclaimed because it is good in the 
beginning, the middle, and the end, and because it announces the life of purity that 
is utterly perfect and pure with meaning and with detail (see M I 179). 

Even a single stanza of the Blessed One's teaching is good in the beginning 
with the first word, good in the middle with the second, third, etc., and good in 
the end with the last word, because the Dhamma is altogether admirable. A 
sutta with a single sequence of meaning 30 is good in the beginning with the 
introduction, good in the end with the conclusion, and good in the middle with 
what is in between. A sutta with several sequences of meaning is good in the 
beginning with the first sequence of meaning, good in the end with the last 
sequence of meaning, and good in the middle with the sequences of meaning in 
between. Furthermore, it is good in the beginning with the introduction [giving 
the place of] and the origin [giving the reason for] its utterance. It is good in the 
middle because it suits those susceptible of being taught since it is unequivocal 
in meaning and reasoned with cause and example. It is good in the end with its 
conclusion that inspires faith in the hearers. 

70. Also the entire Dhamma of the Dispensation is good in the beginning with 
virtue as one's own well-being. It is good in the middle with serenity and insight 
and with path and fruition. It is good in the end with Nibbana. Or alternatively, 
it is good in the beginning with virtue and concentration. [214] It is good in the 
middle with insight and the path. It is good in the end with fruition and Nibbana. 
Or alternatively, it is good in the beginning because it is the good discovery 
made by the Buddha. It is good in the middle because it is the well-regulatedness 
of the Dhamma. It is good in the end because it is the good way entered upon by 
the Sahgha. Or alternatively, it is good in the beginning as the discovery of what 
can be attained by one who enters upon the way of practice in conformity after 
hearing about it. It is good in the middle as the unproclaimed enlightenment [of 
Paccekabuddhas]. It is good in the end as the enlightenment of disciples. 

71. And when listened to, it does good through hearing it because it suppresses 
the hindrances, thus it is good in the beginning. And when made the way of 



30. Annsandhi — "sequence of meaning": a technical commentarial term signifying 
both a particular subject treated in a discourse, and also the way of linking one subject 
with another in the same discourse. At M-a 1 175 three kinds are distinguished: sequence 
of meaning in answer to a question (pucchanusandhi — e.g. M I 36), that to suit a 
personal idiosyncrasy, (ajjhasayannsandhi — e.g. M I 23) and that due to the natural 
course of the teaching (yathanusandhi — e.g. the whole development of MN 6). 



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practice it does good through the way being entered upon because it brings the 
bliss of serenity and insight, thus it is good in the middle. And when it has thus 
been made the way of practice and the fruit of the way is ready it does good 
through the fruit of the way because it brings [unshakable] equipoise, thus it is 
good in the end. 

So it is "well proclaimed" because of being good in the beginning, the middle 
and the end. 

72. Now, the life of purity, that is to say, the life of purity of the Dispensation and 
the life of purity of the path, which the Blessed One announces, which he shows 
in various ways when he teaches the Dhamma, is "with meaning" because of 
perfection of meaning, and it is "with detail" because of perfection of detail, as 
it is proper that it should be. It is "with meaning" because it conforms to the 
words declaring its meaning by pronouncing, clarifying, revealing, expounding, 
and explaining it. It is "with detail" because it has perfection of syllables, words, 
details, style, language, and descriptions. It is "with meaning" owing to 
profundity of meaning and profundity of penetration. It is "with detail" owing 
to profundity of law and profundity of teaching. It is "with meaning" because it 
is the province of the discriminations of meaning and of perspicuity. It is "with 
detail" because it is the province of the discriminations of law and of language 
(see XIV21). It is "with meaning" since it inspires confidence in persons of 
discretion, being experienceable by the wise. It is "with detail" since it inspires 
confidence in worldly persons, being a fit object of faith. It is "with meaning" 
because its intention is profound. It is "with detail" because its words are clear. 
It is "utterly perfect" with the complete perfection due to absence of anything 
that can be added. It is "pure" with the immaculateness due to absence of 
anything to be subtracted. 

73. Furthermore, it is "with meaning" because it provides the particular 
distinction 31 of achievement through practice of the way, and it is "with detail" 
because it provides the particular distinction of learning through mastery of 
scripture. It is "utterly perfect" because it is connected with the five 
aggregates of Dhamma beginning with virtue. 32 It is "pure" because it has 
no imperfection, because it exists for the purpose of crossing over [the round 
of rebirths' flood (see M I 134)], and because it is not concerned with worldly 
things. 

So it is "well proclaimed" because it "announces the life of purity that is 
utterly perfect and pure with meaning and with detail." 

Or alternatively, it is well proclaimed since it has been properly proclaimed 
with no perversion of meaning. For the meaning of other sectarians' law suffers 
perversion since there is actually no obstruction in the [215] things described 
there as obstructive and actually no outlet in the things described there as outlets, 

31. Vyatti (byatti) — "particular distinction" (n. fm. vi + an]); not so spelt in PED but 
see viyatti. Glossed by Vism-mht with veyyatti. 

32. These "five aggregates" are those of virtue, concentration, understanding, 
deliverance, and knowledge and vision of deliverance. 

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which is why their law is ill-proclaimed; but not so the Blessed One's Law, 
whose meaning suffers no perversion since the things described there as 
obstructions and the things described there as outlets are so in actual fact. 

So, in the first place, the Dhamma of the scriptures is "well proclaimed." 

74. The supramundane Dhamma is well proclaimed since both the way that 
accords with Nibbana and the Nibbana that accords with the way have been 
proclaimed, according as it is said: "The way leading to Nibbana has been 
properly declared to the disciples by the Blessed One, and Nibbana and the way 
meet. Just as the water of the Ganges meets and joins with the water of the 
Yamuna, so too the way leading to Nibbana has been properly declared to the 
disciples by the Blessed One, and Nibbana and the way meet" (D II 223). 

75. And here the noble path, which is the middle way since it does not approach 
either extreme, is well proclaimed in being proclaimed to be the middle way. 

The fruits of asceticism, where defilements are tranquilized, are well proclaimed 
too in being proclaimed to have tranquilized defilement. 

Nibbana, whose individual essence is eternal, deathless, the refuge, the shelter, 
etc., is well proclaimed too in being proclaimed to have an individual essence that 
is eternal, and so on. 

So the supramundane Dhamma is also "well proclaimed." 

[Visible Here and Now] 

76. Visible here and now: firstly, the noble path is "visible here and now" since it 
can be seen by a noble person himself when he has done away with greed, etc., 
in his own continuity, according as it is said: "When a man is dyed with greed, 
brahman, and is overwhelmed and his mind is obsessed by greed, then he thinks 
for his own affliction, he thinks for others' affliction, he thinks for the affliction 
of both, and he experiences mental suffering and grief. When greed has been 
abandoned, he neither thinks for his own affliction, nor thinks for others' 
affliction, nor thinks for the affliction of both, and he does not experience mental 
suffering and grief. This, brahman, is how the Dhamma is visible here and now" 
(A I 156). [216] 

77. Furthermore, the ninefold supramundane Dhamma is also visible here and 
now, since when anyone has attained it, it is visible to him through reviewing 
knowledge without his having to rely on faith in another. 

78. Or alternatively, the view (ditthi) that is recommended (pasattha — pp. of root 
sams) is "proper view" (sanditthi). It conquers by means of proper view, thus it 
"has proper view" (sanditthika — "visible here and now"). For in this way the 
noble path conquers defilements by means of the proper view associated with it, 
and the noble fruition does so by means of the proper view that is its cause, and 
Nibbana does so by means of the proper view that has Nibbana as its objective 
field. So the ninefold supramundane Dhamma "has the proper view" 
{sanditthika — "is visible here and now") since it conquers by means of proper 
view, just as a charioteer (rathika) is so called because he conquers by means of 
a chariot (ratha). 



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79. Or alternatively, it is seeing (dassana) that is called "the seen" (dittha); 
then dittha and sandittha are identical in meaning as "seeing." It is worthy of 
being seen (dittha), thus it is "visible here and now" (sanditthika). For the 
supramundane Dhamma (law) arrests the fearful round [of kamma, etc.,] as 
soon as it is seen by means of penetration consisting in development [of the 
path] and by means of penetration consisting in realization [of Nibbana]. So 
it is "visible here and now" (sanditthika) since it is worthy of being seen 
(dittha), just as one who is clothable (vattihika) 33 is so called because he is 
worthy of clothes (vattha). 

[Not Delayed] 

80. It has no delay (lit. "takes no time" — kala) in the matter of giving its own 
fruit, thus it is "without delay" (akala). "Without delay" is the same as "not 
delayed" (akalika). What is meant is that instead of giving its fruit after creating 
a delay (using up time), say, five days, seven days, it gives its fruit immediately 
next to its own occurrence (see Sn 226). 

81. Or alternatively, what is delayed (kalika — lit. "what takes time") is what 
needs some distant 34 time to be reached before it can give its fruit. What is that? 
It is the mundane law of profitable [kamma]. This, however, is undelayed (na 
kalika) because its fruit comes immediately next to it, so it is "not delayed" 
(akalika). 

This is said with reference to the path. 

[Inviting of Inspection] 

82. It is worthy of an invitation to inspect (ehipassa-vidhi) given thus: "Come 
and see this Dhamma" (ehi passa imam dhammam), thus it is "inviting of 
inspection" (ehipassika). But why is it worthy of this invitation? Because it is 
found and because of its purity. For if a man has said that there is money or gold 
in an empty fist, he cannot say, "Come and see it." Why not? Because it is not 
found. And on the other hand, while dung or urine may well be found, a man 
cannot, for the purpose of cheering the mind by exhibiting beauty, say, "Come 



33. Vatthika— "clothable"; not in PED. 

34. Pakattha— "distant"; not in PED (= dura— Vism-mht 297). 

35. This passage is only loosely renderable because the exegesis here is based 
almost entirely on the substitution of one Pali grammatical form for another (padasiddhi). 
The reading opaneyyiko (for opanayiko) does not appear in any Sinhalese text (generally 
the most reliable); consequently the sentence "opanayiko va opaneyyiko" (see Harvard 
text) is absent in them, being superfluous. Vism-mht's explanations are incorporated. 
This paragraph depends on the double sense of upaneti (upa + neti, to lead on or 
induce) and its derivatives as (i) an attractive inducement and (ii) a reliable guide, and 
so the word induce is stretched a bit and inducive coined on the analogy of conducive. 
Upanaya (inducement) is not in PED, nor is upanayana (inducing) in this sense (see also 
XIV68). Upanayana means in logic "application," "subsumption"; and also upanetabba 
means "to be added"; see end of §72. For alliyana ("treating as one's shelter") see 
references in Glossary. 

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and see this;" on the contrary, they have to be covered up with grass and leaves. 
Why? Because of their impurity. But this ninefold supramundane Dhamma is 
actually found as such in its individual essence, and it is as pure as the full 
moon's disk in a cloudless sky, as a gem of pure water on bleached cloth. [217] 
Consequently, it is worthy of the invitation to inspect since it is found and pure, 
thus it is "inviting of inspection." 

[Onward-Leading] 

83. The word opanayika ("onward-leading") is [equivalent to the gerund] 
upanetabba ("ought to — can — be induced"). Here is an exposition. An inducing 
(upanayana) is an inducement (upanaya). [As the four paths and four fruitions] 
this [Dhamma] is worth inducing (upanayanam arahati) [that is, arousing] in 
one's own mind [subjectively] by means of development, without any question 
of whether or not one's clothing or one's head is on fire (see A IV 320), thus it is 
"onward-leading" {opanayika). This applies to the [above-mentioned eight] 
formed supramundane states (dhammas). But the unformed [dhamma] is worth 
inducing by one's own mind [to become the mind's object], thus it is "onward- 
leading," too; the meaning is that it is worth treating as one's shelter by 
realizing it. 

84. Or alternatively, what induces (upaneti) [the noble person] onwards to 
Nibbana is the noble path, which is thus inductive (upaneyya). Again, what can 
(ought to) be induced (upanetabba) to realizability is the Dhamma consisting in 
fruition and Nibbana, which is thus inductive (upaneyya), too. The word upaneyya 
is the same as the word opanayika. 35 

[Is Directly Experienceable by the Wise] 

85. Is directly experienceable by the wise: it can be experienced by all the kinds of 
wise men beginning with the "acutely wise" (see A II 135) each in himself thus: 
"The path has been developed, fruition attained, and cessation realized, by me." 
For it does not happen that when a preceptor has developed the path his co- 
resident abandons his defilements, nor does a co-resident dwell in comfort owing 
to the preceptor's attainment of fruition, nor does he realize the Nibbana realized 
by the preceptor. So this is not visible in the way that an ornament on another's 
head is, but rather it is visible only in one's own mind. What is meant is that it 
can be undergone by wise men, but it is not the province of fools. 

86. Now, in addition, this Dhamma is well proclaimed. Why? Because it is 
visible here and now. It is visible here and now because it is not delayed. It is not 
delayed because it invites inspection. And what invites inspection is onward- 
leading. 

87. As long as [the meditator] recollects the special qualities of the Dhamma in 
this way, then: "On that occasion his mind is not obsessed by greed, or obsessed 
by hate, or obsessed by delusion; his mind has rectitude on that occasion, being 
inspired by the Dhamma" (A III 285). 

So when he has suppressed the hindrances in the way already described 
(§66), the jhana factors arise in a single conscious moment. But owing to the 



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profundity of the Dhamma's special qualities, or else owing to his being occupied 
in recollecting special qualities of many sorts, the jhana is only access and does 
not reach absorption. And that access jhana itself is known as "recollection of 
the Dhamma" too because it arises with the recollection of the Dhamma's special 
qualities as the means. 

88. [218] When a bhikkhu is devoted to this recollection of the Dhamma, he 
thinks: "I never in the past met a master who taught a law that led onward thus, 
who possessed this talent, nor do I now see any such a master other than the 
Blessed One." Seeing the Dhamma's special qualities in this way, he is respectful 
and deferential towards the Master. He entertains great reverence for the 
Dhamma and attains fullness of faith, and so on. He has much happiness and 
gladness. He conquers fear and dread. He is able to endure pain. He comes to 
feel as if he were living in the Dhamma's presence. And his body, when the 
recollection of the Dhamma's special qualities dwells in it, becomes as worthy of 
veneration as a shrine room. His mind tends towards the realization of the peerless 
Dhamma. When he encounters an opportunity for transgression, he has vivid 
awareness of conscience and shame on recollecting the well-regulatedness of 
the Dhamma. And if he penetrates no higher, he is at least headed for a happy 
destiny. 

Now, when a man is truly wise, 
His constant task will surely be 
This recollection of the Dhamma 
Blessed with such mighty potency. 

This is the section dealing with the recollection of the Dhamma in the detailed 
explanation. 

[(3) Recollection of the Sangha] 

89. One who wants to develop the recollection of the Community should go 
into solitary retreat and recollect the special qualities of the community of Noble 
Ones as follows: 

"The community of the Blessed One's disciples has entered on the good way, 
the community of the Blessed One's disciples has entered on the straight way, 
the community of the Blessed One's disciples has entered on the true way, the 
community of the Blessed One's disciples has entered on the proper way, that is 
to say, the four pairs of men, the eight persons; this community of the Blessed 
One's disciples is fit for gifts, fit for hospitality, fit for offerings, fit for reverential 
salutation, as an incomparable field of merit for the world" (A III 286). 

[Entered on the Good, Straight, True, Proper Way] 

90. Herein, entered on the good way (supatipanna) is thoroughly entered on the 
way (sutthu patipanna). What is meant is that it has entered on a way {patipanna) 
that is the right way (samma-patipada), the way that is irreversible, the way that is 
in conformity [with truth], the way that has no opposition, the way that is 
regulated by the Dhamma. They hear (sunanti) attentively the Blessed One's 
instruction, thus they are his disciples (savaka — lit. "hearers"). The community of 



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the disciples is the community of those disciples. The meaning is that the total of 
disciples forms a communality because it possesses in common both virtue and 
[right] view. [219] That right way, being straight, unbent, uncrooked, unwarped, 
is called noble and true and is known as proper owing to its becomingness, 
therefore the noble community that has entered on that is also said to have entered 
on the straight way, entered on the true way, and entered on the proper way. 

91. Those who stand on the path can be understood to have entered on the good 
way since they possess the right way. And those who stand in fruition can be 
understood to have entered on the good way with respect to the way that is now 
past since by means of the right way they have realized what should be realized. 

92. Furthermore, the Community has entered on the good way because it has 
entered on the way according as instructed in the well-proclaimed Dhamma 
and Discipline (dhamma-vinaya), and because it has entered on the immaculate 
way. It has entered on the straight way because it has entered on the way avoiding 
the two extremes and taking the middle course, and because it has entered on 
the way of the abandonment of the faults of bodily and verbal crookedness, 
tortuousness and warpedness. It has entered on the true way because Nibbana is 
what is called "true" and it has entered on the way with that as its aim. It has 
entered on the proper way because it has entered on the way of those who are 
worthy of proper acts [of veneration]. 

93. The word yadidam ("that is to say") = yani imani. The four pairs of men: 
taking them pairwise, the one who stands on the first path and the one who 
stands in the first fruition as one pair, in this way there are four pairs. The eight 
persons: taking them by persons, the one who stands on the first path as one and 
the one who stands in the first fruition as one, in this way there are eight persons. 
And there in the compound purisa-puggala (persons) the words purisa and puggala 
have the same meaning, but it is expressed in this way to suit differing 
susceptibility to teaching. 

This community of the Blessed One's disciples: this community of the Blessed 
One's disciples taken by pairs as the four pairs of men (purisa) and individually 
as the eight persons (purisa-puggala). 

[Fit for Gifts] 

94. As to fit for gifts, etc.: what should be brought (anetva) and given (hunitabba) 
is a gift (ahuna — lit. "sacrifice"); the meaning is, what is to be brought even from 
far away and donated to the virtuous. It is a term for the four requisites. The 
Community is fit to receive that gift (sacrifice) because it makes it bear great fruit, 
thus it is "fit for gifts" (ahuneyya). 

95. Or alternatively, all kinds of property, even when the bringer comes (agantva) 
from far away, can be given (hunitabba) here, thus the Community "can be given 
to" (ahavanlya); or it is fit to be given to by Sakka and others, thus it "can be given 
to." And the brahmans' fire is called "to be given (sacrificed) to" (ahavanlya), for 
they believe that what is sacrificed to it brings great fruit. [220] But if something 
is to be sacrificed to for the sake of the great fruit brought by what is sacrificed to 



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it, then surely the Community should be sacrificed to; for what is sacrificed 
(given) to the Community has great fruit, according as it is said: 

"Were anyone to serve the fire 

Out in the woods a hundred years, 

And pay one moment's homage too 

To men of self-development, 

His homage would by far excel 

His hundred years of sacrifice" (Dhp 107). 

And the words ahavanlya ("to be sacrificed to"), which is used in the schools, 36 
is the same in meaning as this word ahuneyya ("fit for gifts") used here. There is 
only the mere trifling difference of syllables. So it is "fit for gifts." 

[Fit for Hospitality] 

96. Fit for hospitality (pahuneyya): "hospitality" (pahuna) is what a donation to 
visitors is called, prepared with all honours for the sake of dear and beloved 
relatives and friends who have come from all quarters. But even more than to 
such objects of hospitality, it is fitting that it should be given also to the Community; 
for there is no object of hospitality so fit to receive hospitality as the Community 
since it is encountered after an interval between Buddhas and possesses wholly 
endearing and lovable qualities. So it is "fit for hospitality" since the hospitality 
is fit to be given to it and it is fit to receive it. 

But those who take the text to be pahavanlya ("fit to be given hospitality to") 
have it that the Community is worthy to be placed first and so what is to be given 
should first of all be brought here and given (sabba-Pathamam Anetva ettha 
HUNitabbam), and for that reason it is "fit to be given hospitality to" (pahavanlya) 
or since it is worthy to be given to in all aspects (sabba-Pakarena AHAVANAm 
arahati), it is thus "fit to be given hospitality to" (pahavanlya). And here this is 
called pahuneyya in the same sense. 

[Fit for Offering] 

97. "Offering" (dakkhina) is what a gift is called that is to be given out of faith 
in the world to come. The Community is worthy of that offering, or it is helpful to 
that offering because it purifies it by making it of great fruit, thus it is fit for 
offerings (dakkhineyya). 

[Fit for Salutation] 

It is worthy of being accorded by the whole world the reverential salutation 
(anjali-kamma) consisting in placing both hands [palms together] above the head, 
thus it is fit for reverential salutation (anjalikaranlya). 

[As an Incomparable Field of Merit for the World] 

98. As an incomparable field of merit for the world: as a place without equal in the 
world for growing merit; just as the place for growing the king's or minister's 

36. "In the Sarvastivadin school and so on" (Vism-mht 230). 

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rice or corn is the king's rice-field or the king's corn-field, so the Community is 
the place for growing the whole world's merit. For the world's various kinds of 
merit leading to welfare and happiness grow with the Community as their 
support. Therefore the Community is "an incomparable field of merit for the 
world." 

99. As long as he recollects the special qualities of the Sahgha in this way, 
classed as "having entered on the good way," etc., [221] then: "On that occasion 
his mind is not obsessed by greed, or obsessed by hate, or obsessed by delusion; 
his mind has rectitude on that occasion, being inspired by the Sahgha" (A III 
286). 

So when he has suppressed the hindrances in the way already described 
(§66), the jhana factors arise in a single conscious moment. But owing to the 
profundity of the Community's special qualities, or else owing to his being 
occupied in recollecting special qualities of many sorts, the jhana is only access 
and does not reach absorption. And that access jhana itself is known as 
"recollection of the Sahgha" too because it arises with the recollection of the 
Community's special qualities as the means. 

100. When a bhikkhu is devoted to this recollection of the Community, he is 
respectful and deferential towards the Community. He attains fullness of faith, 
and so on. He has much happiness and bliss. He conquers fear and dread. He is 
able to endure pain. He comes to feel as if he were living in the Community's 
presence. And his body, when the recollection of the Sangha's special qualities 
dwells in it, becomes as worthy of veneration as an Uposatha house where the 
Community has met. His mind tends towards the attainment of the Community's 
special qualities. When he encounters an opportunity for transgression, he has 
awareness of conscience and shame as vividly as if he were face to face with the 
Community. And if he penetrates no higher, he is at least headed for a happy 
destiny. 

Now, when a man is truly wise, 
His constant task will surely be 
This recollection of the Sangha 
Blessed with such mighty potency. 

This is the section dealing with the recollection of the Community in the 
detailed explanation. 

[(4) Recollection of Virtue] 

101. One who wants to develop the recollection of virtue should go into solitary 
retreat and recollect his own different kinds of virtue in their special qualities of 
being untorn, etc., as follows: 

Indeed, my various kinds of virtue are "untorn, unrent, unblotched, unmottled, 
liberating, praised by the wise, not adhered to, and conducive to concentration" 
(A III 286). And a layman should recollect them in the form of laymen's virtue 
while one gone forth into homelessness should recollect them in the form of the 
virtue of those gone forth. 



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102. Whether they are the virtues of laymen or of those gone forth, when no 
one of them is broken in the beginning or in the end, not being torn like a cloth 
ragged at the ends, then they are untorn. [222] When no one of them is broken in 
the middle, not being rent like a cloth that is punctured in the middle, then they 
are unrent. When they are not broken twice or thrice in succession, not being 
blotched like a cow whose body is some such colour as black or red with 
discrepant-coloured oblong or round patch appearing on her back or belly, then 
they are unblotched. When they are not broken all over at intervals, not being 
mottled like a cow speckled with discrepant-coloured spots, then they are 
unmottled. 

103. Or in general they are untorn, unrent, unblotched, unmottled when they are 
undamaged by the seven bonds of sexuality (1.144) and by anger and enmity 
and the other evil things (see §59). 

104. Those same virtues are liberating since they liberate by freeing from the 
slavery of craving. They are praised by the wise because they are praised by such 
wise men as Enlightened Ones. They are not adhered to (aparamattha) since they 
are not adhered to (aparamatthatta) with craving and [false] view, or because of 
the impossibility of misapprehending (paramatthum) that "There is this flaw in 
your virtues." They are conducive to concentration since they conduce to access 
concentration and absorption concentration, or to path concentration and fruition 
concentration. 

105. As long as he recollects his own virtues in their special qualities of being 
untorn, etc., in this way, then: "On that occasion his mind is not obsessed by 
greed, or obsessed by hate, or obsessed by delusion, his mind has rectitude on 
that occasion, being inspired by virtue" (A III 286). 

So when he has suppressed the hindrances in the way already described 
(§66), the jhana factors arise in a single conscious moment. But owing to the 
profundity of the virtues' special qualities, or owing to his being occupied in 
recollecting special qualities of many sorts, the jhana is only access and does 
not reach absorption. And that access jhana itself is known as "recollection of 
virtue" too because it arises with the virtues' special qualities as the means. 

106. And when a bhikkhu is devoted to this recollection of virtue, he has respect 
for the training. He lives in communion [with his fellows in the life of purity]. He 
is sedulous in welcoming. He is devoid of the fear of self-reproach and so on. He 
sees fear in the slightest fault. He attains fullness of faith, and so on. He has 
much happiness and gladness. And if he penetrates no higher, he is at least 
headed for a happy destiny. 

Now, when a man is truly wise, 
His constant task will surely be 
This recollection of his virtue 
Blessed with such mighty potency. 

This is the section dealing with the recollection of virtue in the detailed 
explanation. [223] 



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[(5) Recollection of Generosity] 

107. One who wants to develop the recollection of generosity should be 
naturally devoted to generosity and the constant practice of giving and sharing. 
Or alternatively if he is one who is starting the development of it, he should 
make the resolution: "From now on, when there is anyone present to receive, I 
shall not eat even a single mouthful without having given a gift." And that very 
day he should give a gift by sharing according to his means and his ability with 
those who have distinguished qualities. When he has apprehended the sign in 
that, he should go into solitary retreat and recollect his own generosity in its 
special qualities of being free from the stain of avarice, etc., as follows: 

"It is gain for me, it is great gain for me, that in a generation obsessed by the 
stain of avarice I abide with my heart free from stain by avarice, and am freely 
generous and open-handed, that I delight in relinquishing, expect to be asked, 
and rejoice in giving and sharing" (A III 287). 

108. Herein, it is gain for me: it is my gain, advantage. The intention is: I surely 
partake of those kinds of gain for a giver that have been commended by the 
Blessed One as follows: "A man who gives life [by giving food] shall have life 
either divine or human" (A III 42), and: "A giver is loved and frequented by 
many" (A III 40), and: "One who gives is ever loved, according to the wise man's 
law" (A III 41), and so on. 

109. It is great gain for me: it is great gain for me that this Dispensation, or the 
human state, has been gained by me. Why? Because of the fact that "I abide with 
my mind free from stain by avarice ... and rejoice in giving and sharing." 

110. Herein, obsessed by the stain of avarice is overwhelmed by the stain of avarice. 
Generation: beings, so called owing to the fact of their being generated. So the 
meaning here is this: among beings who are overwhelmed by the stain of avarice, 
which is one of the dark states that corrupt the [natural] transparency of 
consciousness (see A I 10) and which has the characteristic of inability to bear 
sharing one's own good fortune with others. 

111. Free from stain by avarice because of being both free from avarice and from 
the other stains, greed, hate, and the rest. I abide with my heart: I abide with my 
consciousness of the kind already stated, is the meaning. [224] But in the sutta, 
"I live the home life with my heart free" (A III 287; V 331), etc., is said because it 
was taught there as a [mental] abiding to depend on [constantly] to Mahanama 
the Sakyan, who was a stream-enterer asking about an abiding to depend on. 
There the meaning is "I live overcoming ..." 

112. Freely generous: liberally generous. Open-handed: with hands that are 
purified. What is meant is: with hands that are always washed in order to give 
gifts carefully with one's own hands. That I delight in relinquishing: the act of 
relinquishing (vossajjana) is relinquishing (vossagga); the meaning is, giving up. 
To delight in relinquishing is to delight in constant devotion to that relinquishing. 
Expect to be asked (yacayoga): accustomed to being asked (yacana-yogga) because 
of giving whatever others ask for, is the meaning. Yajayoga is a reading, in 
which case the meaning is: devoted (yutta) to sacrifice (yaja), in other words, to 



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sacrificing (yajana). And rejoice in sharing: the meaning is, he recollects thus: "I 
give gifts and I share out what is to be used by myself, and I rejoice in both." 

113. As long as he recollects his own generosity in its special qualities of 
freedom from stain by avarice, etc., in this way, then: "On that occasion his mind 
is not obsessed by greed, or obsessed by hate, or obsessed by delusion; his mind 
has rectitude on that occasion, being inspired by generosity" (A III 287). 

So when he has suppressed the hindrances in the way already described 
(§66), the jhana factors arise in a single conscious moment. But owing to the 
profundity of the generosity's special qualities, or owing to his being occupied 
in recollecting the generosity's special qualities of many sorts, the jhana is only 
access and does not reach absorption. And that access jhana is known as 
"recollection of generosity" too because it arises with the generosity's special 
qualities as the means. 

114. And when a bhikkhu is devoted to this recollection of generosity, he 
becomes ever more intent on generosity, his preference is for non-greed, he acts 
in conformity with loving-kindness, he is fearless. He has much happiness and 
gladness. And if he penetrates no higher, he is at least headed for a happy 
destiny. 

Now, when a man is truly wise, 
His constant task will surely be 
This recollection of his giving 
Blessed with such mighty potency. 

This is the section dealing with the recollection of generosity in the detailed 
explanation. [225] 

[(6) Recollection of Deities] 

115. One who wants to develop the recollection of deities should possess the 
special qualities of faith, etc., evoked by means of the noble path, and he should 
go into solitary retreat and recollect his own special qualities of faith, etc., with 
deities standing as witnesses, as follows: 

"There are deities of the Realm of the Four Kings (deva catummaharajika) , 
there are deities of the Realm of the Thirty-three (deva tavatimsa), there are deities 
who are Gone to Divine Bliss (yama) . . . who are Contented (tusita) . . . who Delight 
in Creating (nimmanarati) ... who Wield Power Over Others' Creations 
(paranimmitavasavatti), there are deities of Brahma's Retinue (brahmakayika), there 
are deities higher than that. And those deities were possessed of faith such that 
on dying here they were reborn there, and such faith is present in me too. And 
those deities were possessed of virtue ... of learning ... of generosity ... of 
understanding such that when they died here they were reborn there, and such 
understanding is present in me too" (A III 287). 

116. In the sutta, however, it is said: "On the occasion, Mahanama, on which a 
noble disciple recollects the faith, the virtue, the learning, the generosity, and the 
understanding that are both his own and of those deities," on that occasion his 
mind is not obsessed by greed ..." (A III 287). Although this is said, it should 



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nevertheless be understood as said for the purpose of showing that the special 
qualities of faith, etc., in oneself are those in the deities, making the deities stand 
as witnesses. For it is said definitely in the Commentary: "He recollects his own 
special qualities, making the deities stand as witnesses." 

117. As long as in the prior stage he recollects the deities' special qualities of 
faith, etc., and in the later stage he recollects the special qualities of faith, etc., 
existing in himself, then: "On that occasion his mind is not obsessed by greed, 
or obsessed by hate, or obsessed by delusion, his mind has rectitude on that 
occasion, being inspired by deities" (A III 288). 

So when he has suppressed the hindrances in the way already stated (§66), 
the jhana factors arise in a single conscious moment. But owing to the profundity 
of the special qualities of faith, etc., or owing to his being occupied in recollecting 
special qualities of many sorts, the jhana is only access and does not reach 
absorption. And that access jhana itself is known as "recollection of deities" too 
because it arises with the deities special qualities as the means. [226] 

118. And when a bhikkhu is devoted to this recollection of deities, he becomes 
dearly loved by deities. He obtains even greater fullness of faith. He has much 
happiness and gladness. And if he penetrates no higher, he is at least headed for 
a happy destiny. 

Now, when a man is truly wise, 
His constant task will surely be 
This recollection of deities 
Blessed with such mighty potency. 

This is the section dealing with the recollection of deities in the detailed 
explanation. 

[General] 

119. Now, in setting forth the detail of these recollections, after the words, "His 
mind has rectitude on that occasion, being inspired by the Perfect One," it is 
added: "When a noble disciple's mind has rectitude, Mahanama, the meaning 
inspires him, the law inspires him, and the application of the law makes him 
glad. When he is glad, happiness is born in him" (A III 285-88). Herein, the 
meaning inspires him should be understood as said of contentment inspired by 
the meaning beginning, "This Blessed One is such since he is ..." (§2). The law 
inspires him is said of contentment inspired by the text. The application of the law 
makes him glad is said of both (cf. M-a I 173). 

120. And when in the case of the recollection of deities inspired by deities is 
said, this should be understood as said either of the consciousness that occurs 
in the prior stage inspired by deities or of the consciousness [that occurs in the 
later stage] inspired by the special qualities that are similar to those of the deities 
and are productive of the deities' state (cf. §117). 

121. These six recollections succeed only in noble disciples. For the special 
qualities of the Enlightened One, the Law, and the Community, are evident to 
them; and they possess the virtue with the special qualities of untornness, etc., 



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the generosity that is free from stain by avarice, and the special qualities of faith, 
etc., similar to those of deities. 

122. And in the Mahanama Sutta (A III 285 f.) they are expounded in detail by 
the Blessed One in order to show a stream-winner an abiding to depend upon 
when he asked for one. 

123. Also in the Gedha Sutta they are expounded in order that a noble disciple 
should purify his consciousness by means of the recollections and so attain 
further purification in the ultimate sense thus: "Here, bhikkhus, a noble disciple 
recollects the Perfect One in this way: That Blessed One is such since he is 
accomplished ... His mind has rectitude on that occasion. He has renounced, 
[227] got free from, emerged from cupidity. Cupidity, bhikkhus, is a term for the 
five cords of sense desire. Some beings gain purity here by making this 
[recollection] their prop" (A III 312). 

124. And in the Sambadhokasa Sutta taught by the venerable Maha-Kaccana 
they are expounded as the realization of the wide-open through the susceptibility 
of purification that exists in the ultimate sense only in a noble disciple thus: "It 
is wonderful, friends, it is marvellous how the realization of the wide-open in the 
crowded [house life] has been discovered by the Blessed One who knows and 
sees, accomplished and fully enlightened, for the purification of beings, [for the 
surmounting of sorrow and lamentation, for the ending of pain and grief, for the 
attainment of the true way], for the realization of Nibbana, that is to say, the six 
stations of recollection. What six? Here, friends, a noble disciple recollects the 
Perfect One ... Some beings are susceptible to purification in this way" (A HI 
314-15). 

125. Also in the Uposatha Sutta they are expounded in order to show the 
greatness of the fruit of the Uposatha, as a mind-purifying meditation subject for 
a noble disciple who is observing the Uposatha: "And what is the Noble Ones' 
Uposatha, Visakha? It is the gradual cleansing of the mind still sullied by 
imperfections. And what is the gradual cleansing of the mind still sullied by 
imperfections? Here, Visakha, a noble disciple recollects the Perfect One ..." (A 
I 206-11). 

126. And in the Book of Elevens, when a noble disciple has asked, "Venerable 
sir, in what way should we abide who abide in various ways?" (A V 328), they 
are expounded to him in order to show the way of abiding in this way: "One 
who has faith is successful, Mahanama, not one who has no faith. One who is 
energetic . . . One whose mindfulness is established . . . One who is concentrated 
... One who has understanding is successful, Mahanama, not one who has no 
understanding. Having established yourself in these five things, Mahanama, 
you should develop six things. Here, Mahanama, you should recollect the Perfect 
One: That Blessed One is such since ..." (A V 329-32). 

127. Still, though this is so, they can be brought to mind by an ordinary man 
too, if he possesses the special qualities of purified virtue, and the rest. [228] For 
when he is recollecting the special qualities of the Buddha, etc., even only 
according to hearsay, his consciousness settles down, by virtue of which the 
hindrances are suppressed. In his supreme gladness he initiates insight, and 

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he even attains to Arahantship, like the Elder Phussadeva who dwelt at 
Katakandhakara. 

128. That venerable one, it seems, saw a figure of the Enlightened One created 
by Mara. He thought, "How good this appears despite its having greed, hate 
and delusion! What can the Blessed One's goodness have been like? For he was 
quite without greed, hate and delusion!" He acquired happiness with the Blessed 
One as object, and by augmenting his insight he reached Arahantship. 

The seventh chapter called "The Description of Six 
Recollections" in the Treatise on the Development of 
Concentration in the Path of Purification composed for the 
purpose of gladdening good people. 



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Other Recollections as Meditation Subjects 
(Anussati-kammatthana-niddesa) 

[(7) Mindfulness of Death] 

1. [229] Now comes the description of the development of mindfulness of death, 
which was listed next (III. 105). 

[Definitions] 

Herein, death (marana) is the interruption of the life faculty included within [the 
limits of] a single becoming (existence). But death as termination (cutting off), in 
other words, the Arahant's termination of the suffering of the round, is not 
intended here, nor is momentary death, in other words, the momentary dissolution 
of formations, nor the "death" of conventional (metaphorical) usage in such 
expressions as "dead tree," "dead metal," and so on. 

2. As intended here it is of two kinds, that is to say, timely death and untimely 
death. Herein, timely death comes about with the exhaustion of merit or with the 
exhaustion of a life span or with both. Untimely death comes about through 
kamma that interrupts [other, life-producing] kamma. 

3. Herein, death through exhaustion of merit is a term for the kind of death that 
comes about owing to the result of [former] rebirth-producing kamma's having 
finished ripening although favourable conditions for prolonging the continuity 
of a life span may be still present. Death through exhaustion of a life span is a term 
for the kind of death that comes about owing to the exhaustion of the normal life 
span of men of today, which measures only a century owing to want of such 
excellence in destiny [as deities have] or in time [as there is at the beginning of 
an aeon] or in nutriment [as the Uttarakurus and so on have]. 1 Untimely death is 
a term for the death of those whose continuity is interrupted by kamma capable 
of causing them to fall (cavana) from their place at that very moment, as in the 
case of Dusi-Mara (see M I 337), Kalaburaja (see J-a III 39), etc., 2 or for the death 
of those whose [life's] continuity is interrupted by assaults with weapons, etc., 
due to previous kamma. [230] All these are included under the interruption of 

1. Amplifications are from Vism-mht, p. 236. 

2. "The word 'etc' includes Nanda-yakkha, Nanda-manava, and others" (Vism-mht 
236). See A-a II 104, and M-a IV 8. 

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the life faculty of the kinds already stated. So mindfulness of death is the 
remembering of death, in other words, of the interruption of the life faculty. 

[Development] 

4. One who wants to develop this should go into solitary retreat and exercise 
attention wisely in this way: "Death will take place; the life faculty will be 
interrupted," or "Death, death." 

5. If he exercises his attention unwisely in recollecting the [possible] death of 
an agreeable person, sorrow arises, as in a mother on recollecting the death of 
her beloved child she bore; and gladness arises in recollecting the death of a 
disagreeable person, as in enemies on recollecting the death of their enemies; 
and no sense of urgency arises on recollecting the death of neutral people, as 
happens in a corpse-burner on seeing a dead body; and anxiety arises on 
recollecting one's own death, as happens in a timid person on seeing a murderer 
with a poised dagger. 

6. In all that there is neither mindfulness nor sense of urgency nor knowledge. So 
he should look here and there at beings that have been killed or have died, and 
advert to the death of beings already dead but formerly seen enjoying good things, 
doing so with mindfulness, with a sense of urgency and with knowledge, after 
which he can exercise his attention in the way beginning, "Death will take place." 
By so doing he exercises it wisely. He exercises it as a [right] means, is the meaning. 3 

7. When some exercise it merely in this way, their hindrances get suppressed, 
their mindfulness becomes established with death as its object, and the meditation 
subject reaches access. 

[Eight Ways of Recollecting Death] 

8. But one who finds that it does not get so far should do his recollecting of 
death in eight ways, that is to say: (1) as having the appearance of a murderer, (2) 
as the ruin of success, (3) by comparison, (4) as to sharing the body with many, 
(5) as to the frailty of life, (6) as signless, (7) as to the limitedness of the extent, (8) 
as to the shortness of the moment. 

9. 1. Herein, as having the appearance of a murderer, he should do his recollecting 
thus, "Just as a murderer appears with a sword, thinking, 'I shall cut this man's 
head off,' and applies it to his neck, so death appears." Why? Because it comes 
with birth and it takes away life. 

10. As budding toadstools always come up lifting dust on their tops, so beings 
are born along with aging and death. For accordingly their rebirth-linking 
consciousness reaches aging immediately next to its arising and then breaks 
up together with its associated aggregates, like a stone that falls from the summit 
of a rock. [231] So to begin with, momentary death comes along with birth. But 
death is inevitable for what is born; consequently the kind of death intended 
here also comes along with birth. 

3. For the expression upaya-manasikara — "attention as a [right] means" see M-a I 64. 

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11. Therefore, just as the risen sun moves on towards its setting and never 
turns back even for a little while from wherever it has got to, or just as a mountain 
torrent sweeps by with a rapid current, ever flowing and rushing on and never 
turning back even for a little while, so too this living being travels on towards 
death from the time when he is born, and he never turns back even for a little 
while. Hence it is said: 

"Right from the very day a man 

Has been conceived inside a womb 

He cannot but go on and on, 

Nor going can he once turn back" (J-a IV 494). 

12. And whilst he goes on thus death is as near to him as drying up is to 
rivulets in the summer heat, as falling is to the fruits of trees when the sap 
reaches their attachments in the morning, as breaking is to clay pots tapped by 
a mallet, as vanishing is to dewdrops touched by the sun's rays. Hence it is said: 

"The nights and days go slipping by 
As life keeps dwindling steadily 
Till mortals' span, like water pools 
In failing rills, is all used up" (S I 109). 

"As there is fear, when fruits are ripe, 

That in the morning they will fall, 

So mortals are in constant fear, 

When they are born, that they will die. 

And as the fate of pots of clay 

Once fashioned by the potter's hand, 

Or small or big or baked or raw, 4 

Condemns them to be broken up, 

So mortals' life leads but to death" (Sn p. 576f.). 

"The dewdrop on the blade of grass 
Vanishes when the sun comes up; 
Such is a human span of life; 
So, mother, do not hinder me" (J-a IV 122). 

13. So this death, which comes along with birth, is like a murderer with poised 
sword. And like the murderer who applies the sword to the neck, it carries off life 
and never returns to bring it back. [232] That is why, since death appears like a 
murderer with poised sword owing to its coming along with birth and carrying 
off life, it should be recollected as "having the appearance of a murderer." 

14. 2. As the ruin of success: here success shines as long as failure does not 
overcome it. And the success does not exist that might endure out of reach of 
failure. Accordingly: 

"He gave with joy a hundred millions 

After conquering all the earth, 

Till in the end his realm came down 

4. This line is not in the Sutta-nipata, but see D II 120, note. 

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To less than half a gall-nut's worth. 
Yet when his merit was used up, 
His body breathing its last breath, 
The Sorrowless Asoka too 5 
Felt sorrow face to face with death." 

15. Furthermore, all health ends in sickness, all youth ends in aging, all life 
ends in death; all worldly existence is procured by birth, haunted by aging, 
surprised by sickness, and struck down by death. Hence it is said: 

"As though huge mountains made of rock 

So vast they reached up to the sky 

Were to advance from every side, 

Grinding beneath them all that lives, 

So age and death roll over all, 

Warriors, priests, merchants, and craftsmen, 

The outcastes and the scavengers, 

Crushing all beings, sparing none. 

And here no troops of elephants, 

No charioteers, no infantry, 

No strategy in form of spells, 

No riches, serve to beat them off" (S 1 102). 

This is how death should be recollected as the "ruin of success" by defining 
it as death's final ruining of life's success. 

16. 3. By comparison: by comparing oneself to others. Herein, death should be 
recollected by comparison in seven ways, that is to say: with those of great fame, 
with those of great merit, with those of great strength, with those of great 
supernormal power, with those of great understanding, with Paccekabuddhas, 
with fully enlightened Buddhas. How? [233] 

17. Although Mahasammata, Mandhatu, Mahasudassana, Dalhanemi, Nimi, 6 
etc., 7 were greatly famous and had a great following, and though they had 
amassed enormous wealth, yet death inevitably caught up with them at length, 
so how shall it not at length overtake me? 

Great kings like Mahasammata, 
Whose fame did spread so mightily, 
All fell into death's power too; 
What can be said of those like me? 



5. The Emperor Asoka is referred to. His name Asoka means "Sorrowless." This 
story is in the Asokavadana and Divyavadana, pp. 429-434. 

6. The references for the names here and in the following paragraphs are: 
Mahasammata (J-a III 454; II 311), Mandhatu (J-a II 311), Mahasudassana (D II 169f.), 
Dalhanemi (D III 59f.), Nimi (J-a VI 96f.), Jotika (Vism XII.41), Jatila (XII.41), Ugga (A-a 
I 394), Mendaka (XII.41f.), Punnaka (XII.42), Vasudeva (J-a IV 81f.), Baladeva (J-a IV 
81f.), Bhlmasena (J-a V 426), Yuddhitthila (J-a V 426), Canura (J-a IV 81). 

7. Pabhuti — "etc.": this meaning is not in PED; see §121. 



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It should be recollected in this way, firstly, by comparison with those of great 
fame. 

18. How by comparison with those of great merit? 

Jotika, Jatila, Ugga, 

And Mendaka, and Punnaka 

These, the world said, and others too, 

Did live most meritoriously; 

Yet they came one and all to death; 

What can be said of those like me? 

It should be recollected in this way by comparison with those of great merit. 

19. How by comparison with those of great strength? 

Vasudeva, Baladeva, 
Bhimasena, Yuddhitthila, 
And Canura the wrestler, 
Were in the Exterminator's power. 
Throughout the world they were renowned 
As blessed with strength so mighty; 
They too went to the realm of death; 
What can be said of those like me? 

It should be recollected in this way by comparison with those of great strength. 

20. How by comparison with those of great supernormal power? 

The second of the chief disciples, 
The foremost in miraculous powers, 
Who with the point of his great toe 
Did rock Vejayanta's Palace towers, 
Like a deer in a lion's jaw, he too, 
Despite miraculous potency, 
Fell in the dreadful jaws of death; 
What can be said of those like me? 

It should be recollected in this way by comparison with those of great 
supernormal power. 

21. How by comparison with those of great understanding? [234] 

The first of the two chief disciples 
Did so excel in wisdom's art 
That, save the Helper of the World, 
No being is worth his sixteenth part. 
But though so great was Sariputta's 
Understanding faculty, 
He fell into death's power too; 
What can be said of those like me? 

It should be recollected in this way by comparison with those of great 
understanding. 



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22. How by comparison with Paccekabuddhas? Even those who by the strength 
of their own knowledge and energy crushed all the enemy defilements and 
reached enlightenment for themselves, who [stood alone] like the horn of the 
rhinoceros (see Sn p. 35f.), who were self-perfected, were still not free from death. 
So how should I be free from it? 

To help them in their search for truth 

The Sages various signs employed, 

Their knowledge brought them self-perfection, 

Their cankers were at length destroyed. 

Like the rhinoceros's horn 
They lived alone in constancy, 
But death they could no way evade; 
What can be said of those like me? 
It should be recollected in this way by comparison with Paccekabuddhas. 

23. How by comparison with fully enlightened Buddhas? Even the Blessed One, 
whose material body was embellished with the eighty lesser details and adorned 
with the thirty-two marks of a great man (see MN 91; DN 30), whose Dhamma 
body brought to perfection the treasured qualities of the aggregates of virtue, 
etc., 8 made pure in every aspect, who overpassed greatness of fame, greatness of 
merit, greatness of strength, greatness of supernormal power and greatness of 
understanding, who had no equal, who was the equal of those without equal, 
without double, accomplished and fully enlightened — even he was suddenly 
quenched by the downpour of death's rain, as a great mass of fire is quenched by 
the downpour of a rain of water. 

And so the Greatest Sage possessed 
Such mighty power in every way, 
And it was not through fear or guilt 
That over him Death held his sway. 

No being, not even one without 
Guilt or pusillanimity, 
But will be smitten down; so how I 
Will he not conquer those like me? 

It should be recollected in this way by comparison with fully enlightened 
Buddhas. 

24. When he does his recollecting in this way by comparing himself with 
others possessed of such great fame, etc., in the light of the universality of death, 
thinking, "Death will come to me even as it did to those distinguished beings," 
then his meditation subject reaches access. This is how death should be recollected 
by comparison. [235] 

25. 4. As to the sharing of the body with many: this body is shared by many. Firstly, 
it is shared by the eighty families of worms. There too, creatures live in dependence 

8. Virtue, concentration, understanding, deliverance, knowledge, and vision of 
deliverance. 

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on the outer skin, feeding on the outer skin; creatures live in dependence on the 
inner skin, feeding on the inner skin; creatures live in dependence on the flesh, 
feeding on the flesh; creatures live in dependence on the sinews, feeding on the 
sinews; creatures live in dependence on the bones, feeding on the bones; and 
creatures live in dependence on the marrow, feeding on the marrow. And there 
they are born, grow old and die, evacuate, and make water; and the body is their 
maternity home, their hospital, their charnel-ground, their privy and their urinal. 
The body can also be brought to death with the upsetting of these worms. And 
just as it is shared with the eighty families of worms, so too it is shared by the 
several hundred internal diseases, as well as by such external causes of death as 
snakes, scorpions, and what not. 

26. And just as when a target is set up at a crossroads and then arrows, spears, 
pikes, stones, etc., come from all directions and fall upon it, so too all kinds of 
accidents befall the body, and it also comes to death through these accidents 
befalling it. Hence the Blessed One said: "Here, bhikkhus, when day is departing 
and night is drawing on, 9 a bhikkhu considers thus: 'In many ways I can risk 
death. A snake may bite me, or a scorpion may sting me, or a centipede may sting 
me. I might die of that, and that would set me back. Or I might stumble and fall, 
or the food I have eaten might disagree with me, or my bile might get upset, or my 
phlegm might get upset [and sever my joints as it were] like knives. I might die of 
that, and that would set me back'" (A III 306). 

That is how death should be recollected as to sharing the body with many 

27. 5. As to the frailty of life: this life is impotent and frail. For the life of beings 
is bound up with breathing, it is bound up with the postures, it is bound up with 
cold and heat, it is bound up with the primary elements, and it is bound up with 
nutriment. 

28. Life occurs only when the in -breaths and out-breaths occur evenly. But 
when the wind in the nostrils that has gone outside does not go in again, or 
when that which has gone inside does not come out again, then a man is 
reckoned to be dead. 

And it occurs only when the four postures are found occurring evenly. [236] 
But with the prevailing of anyone of them the life process is interrupted. 

And it occurs only when cold and heat are found occurring evenly. But it fails 
when a man is overcome by excessive cold or heat. 

And it occurs only when the four primary elements are found occurring 
evenly. But with the disturbance of the earth element even a strong man's life can 
be terminated if his body becomes rigid, or with the disturbance of one of the 
elements beginning with water if his body becomes flaccid and petrified with a 
flux of the bowels, etc., or if he is consumed by a bad fever, or if he suffers a 
severing of his limb-joint ligatures (cf. XI.102). 



9. Patihitaya — "drawing on": not in PED; Vism-mht (p. 240) reads panitaya and explains 
by paccagataya (come back). 



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And life occurs only in one who gets physical nutriment at the proper time; 
but if he gets none, he uses his life up. 

This is how death should be recollected as to the frailty of life. 

29. 6. As signless: as indefinable. The meaning is that it is unpredictable. For in 
the case of all beings: 

The span, the sickness, and the time, and where 
The body will be laid, the destiny: 
The living world can never know 10 these things; 
There is no sign foretells when they will be. 

30. Herein, firstly the span has no sign because there is no definition such as: 
Just so much must be lived, no more than that. For beings [die in the various 
stages of the embryo, namely], at the time of the kalala, of the abbnda, of the pesi, of 
the ghana, at one month gone, two months gone, three months gone, four months 
gone, five months gone . . . ten months gone, and on the occasion of coming out 
of the womb. And after that they die this side or the other of the century. 

31. And the sickness has no sign because there is no definition such as: Beings 
die only of this sickness, not of any other. For beings die of eye disease or of any 
one among those beginning with ear disease (see A V 110). 

32. And the time has no sign because there is no definition such as: One has to 
die only at this time, not at any other. For beings die in the morning and at any of 
the other times such as noon. 

33. And where the body will be laid down has no sign because there is no 
definition such as: When people die, they must drop their bodies only here, not 
anywhere else. For the person of those born inside a village is dropped outside 
the village, and that of those born outside the village is dropped inside it. Likewise 
that of those born in water is dropped on land, and that of those born on land in 
water. And this can be multiplied in many ways. [237] 

34. And the destiny has no sign because there is no definition such as: One who 
dies there must be reborn here. For there are some who die in a divine world and are 
reborn in the human world, and there are some who die in the human world and are 
reborn in a divine world, and so on. And in this way the world goes round and 
round the five kinds of destinies like an ox harnessed to a machine. 

This is how death should be recollected as signless. 

35. 7. As to the limitedness of the extent: the extent of human life is short now. One 
who lives long lives a hundred years, more or less. Hence the Blessed One said: 
"Bhikkhus, this human life span is short. There is a new life to be gone to, there 
are profitable [deeds] to be done, there is the life of purity to be led. There is no 
not dying for the born. He who lives long lives a hundred years, more or less ..." 

"The life of humankind is short; 
A wise man holds it in contempt 
And acts as one whose head is burning; 
Death will never fail to come" (S I 108). 

10. Nayare — "can know": form not in PED; Vism-mht explains by nayanti. 

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And he said further: "Bhikkhus, there was once a teacher called Araka ..." (A 
IV 136), all of which sutta should be given in full, adorned as it is with seven 
similes. 

36. And he said further: "Bhikkhus, when a bhikkhu develops mindfulness of 
death thus, 'Oh, let me live a night and day that I may attend to the Blessed One's 
teaching, surely much could be done by me,' and when a bhikkhu develops 
mindfulness of death thus, 'Oh, let me live a day that I may attend to the Blessed 
One's teaching, surely much could be done by me,' and when a bhikkhu develops 
mindfulness of death thus, 'Oh, let me live as long as it takes to chew and 
swallow four or five mouthfuls that I may attend to the Blessed One's teaching, 
surely much could be done by me' — these are called bhikkhus who dwell in 
negligence and slackly develop mindfulness of death for the destruction of 
cankers. [238] 

37. "And, bhikkhus, when a bhikkhu develops mindfulness of death thus, 
'Oh, let me live for as long as it takes to chew and swallow a single mouthful that 
I may attend to the Blessed One's teaching, surely much could be done by me,' 
and when a bhikkhu develops mindfulness of death thus, 'Oh, let me live as 
long as it takes to breathe in and breathe out, or as long as it takes to breathe out 
and breathe in, that I may attend to the Blessed One's teaching, surely much 
could be done by me' — these are called bhikkhus who dwell in diligence and 
keenly develop mindfulness of death for the destruction of cankers" (A III 305-6). 

38. So short in fact is the extent of life that it is not certain even for as long as it 
takes to chew and swallow four or five mouthfuls. 

This is how death should be recollected as to the limitedness of the extent. 

39. 8. As to the shortness of the moment: in the ultimate sense the life-moment of 
living beings is extremely short, being only as much as the occurrence of a 
single conscious moment. Just as a chariot wheel, when it is rolling, rolls [that 
is, touches the ground] only on one point of [the circumference of] its tire, and, 
when it is at rest, rests only on one point, so too, the life of living beings lasts 
only for a single conscious moment. When that consciousness has ceased, the 
being is said to have ceased, according as it is said: "In a past conscious moment 
he did live, not he does live, not he will live. In a future conscious moment not he 
did live, not he does live, he will live. In the present conscious moment not he did 
live, he does live, not he will live." 

"Life, person, pleasure, pain — just these alone 
Join in one conscious moment that flicks by. 
Ceased aggregates of those dead or alive 
Are all alike, gone never to return. 

No [world is] born if [consciousness is] not 
Produced; when that is present, then it lives; 
When consciousness dissolves, the world is dead: 
The highest sense this concept will allow" 11 (Nidd I 42). 

11. "'Person' (atta-bhava) is the states other than the already-mentioned life, feeling 
and consciousness. The words 'just these alone' mean that it is unmixed with self (atta) 



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or permanence" (Vism-mht 242). Atta-bhava as used in the Suttas and in this work is 
more or less a synonym for sakkaya in the sense of person (body and mind) or 
personality, or individual form. See Pitaka refs. in PED and e.g. this chapter §35 and 
XI.54. 

"'When consciousness dissolves, the world is dead": just as in the case of the death- 
consciousness, this world is also called 'dead' in the highest (ultimate) sense with the 
arrival of any consciousness whatever at its dissolution, since its cessation has no 
rebirth-linking (is 'cessation never to return'). Nevertheless, though this is so, 'the 
highest sense this concept will allow (pannatti paramatthiya)' — the ultimate sense will 
allow this concept of continuity which is what the expression of common usage 'Tissa 
lives, Phussa lives' refers to, and which is based on consciousnesses [momentarily] 
existing along with a physical support; this belongs to the ultimate sense here, since, 
as they say, 'It is not the name and surname that lives.'" (Vism-mht 242, 801) 

Something may be said about the word pannatti here. Twenty-four kinds are dealt 
with in the commentary to the Puggalapannatti. The Puggalapannatti Schedule (rnatika) 
gives the following six pannatti (here a making known, a setting out): of aggregates, 
bases, elements, truths, faculties, and persons. (Pug 1) The commentary explains the 
word in this sense as pannapana (making known) and thapana (placing), quoting "He 
announces, teaches, declares (pahnapeti), establishes" (cf. M III 248), and also "a well- 
appointed (supannatta) bed and chair" (?). It continues: "The making known of a name 
(nama-pannatti) shows such and such dhammas and places them in such and such 
compartments, while the making known of the aggregates (khandha-pannatti) and the 
rest shows in brief the individual form of those making-known (pannatti). " 

It then gives six kinds of pannatti "according to the commentarial method but not 
in the texts": (1) Concept of the existent (vijjamana-pahhatti), which is the conceptualizing 
of (making known) a dhamma that is existent, actual, become, in the true and ultimate 
sense (e.g. aggregates, etc.). (2) Concept of the non-existent, which is, for example, the 
conceptualizing of "female," "male," "persons," etc., which are non-existent by that 
standard and are only established by means of current speech in the world; similarly 
"such impossibilities as concepts of a fifth truth or the other sectarians' Atom, 
Primordial Essence, World Soul, and the like." (3) Concept of the non-existent based on 
the existent, e.g. the expression, "One with the three clear-visions," where the "person" 
("one") is nonexistent and the "clear-visions" are existent. (4) Concept of the existent 
based on the non-existent, e.g. the "female form," "visible form" (= visible datum base) 
being existent and "female" non-existent. (5) Concept of the existent based on the 
existent, e.g. "eye-contact," both "eye" and "contact" being existent. (6) Concept of the 
non-existent based on the non-existent, e.g. "banker's son," both being non-existent. 

Again two more sets of six are given as "according to the Teachers, but not in the 
Commentaries." The first is: (1) Derivative concept (upada-pahhatti); this, for instance, 
is a "being," which is a convention derived from the aggregates of materiality feeling, 
etc., though it has no individual essence of its own apprehendable in the true ultimate 
sense, as materiality say, has in its self-identity and its otherness from feeling, etc.; or 
a "house" or a "fist" or an "oven" as apart from its component parts, or a "pitcher" or 
a "garment," which are all derived from those same aggregates; or "time" or 
"direction," which are derived from the revolutions of the moon and sun; or the 
"learning sign" or "counterpart sign" founded on some aspect or other, which are a 
convention derived from some real sign as a benefit of meditative development: these 
are derived concepts, and this kind is a "concept" (pannatti) in the sense of "ability to 



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This is how death should be recollected as to the shortness of the moment. 

[Conclusion] 

40. So while he does his recollecting by means of one or other of these eight 
ways, his consciousness acquires [the support of] repetition owing to the 
reiterated attention, mindfulness settles down with death as its object, the 
hindrances are suppressed, and the jhana factors make their appearance. But 
since the object is stated with individual essences, 12 and since it awakens a sense 
of urgency, the jhana does not reach absorption and is only access. [239] Now, 
with special development, the supramundane jhana and the second and the 
fourth immaterial jhanas reach absorption even with respect to states with 
individual essences. For the supramundane reaches absorption by means of 

be set up" (pahnapetabba = ability to be conceptualized), but not in the sense of "making 
known" (panhapana). Under the latter heading this would be a "concept of the 
nonexistent." (2) Appositional concept (upa-nidha-p .): many varieties are listed, namely, 
apposition of reference ("second" as against "first," "third" as against "second," 
"long" as against "short"); apposition of what is in the hand ("umbrella-in-hand," 
"knife-in-hand"); apposition of association ("earring-wearer," "topknot-wearer," 
"crest-wearer"); apposition of contents ("corn-wagon," "ghee-pot"); apposition of 
proximity ("Indasala Cave," "Piyarigu Cave"); apposition of comparison ("golden 
coloured," "with a bull's gait"); apposition of majority ("Padumassara-brahman 
Village"); apposition of distinction ("diamond ring"); and so on. (3) Collective concept 
(samodhana-p.), e.g., "eight-footed," "pile of riches." (4) Additive concept (upanikkhitta- 
p.), e.g. "one," "two," "three." (5) Verisimilar concept (tajja-p.): refers to the individual 
essence of a given dhamma, e.g. "earth," "fire," "hardness," "heat." (6) Continuity 
concept (santati-p .): refers to the length of continuity of life, e.g. "octogenarian," 
"nonagenarian. " 

In the second set there are: (i) Concept according to function (kicca-p.), e.g. "preacher," 
"expounder of Dhamma." (ii) Concept according to shape (santhana-p.), e.g. "thin," "stout," 
"round," "square." (iii) Concept according to gender (lihga-p.), e.g. "female," "male." (iv) 
Concept according to location (bhumi-p.), e.g. "of the sense sphere," "Kosalan." (v) Concept 
as proper name (paccatta-p.), e.g. "Tissa," "Naga," "Sumana," which are making-known 
(appellations) by mere name-making, (vi) Concept of the unformed (asahkhata-pannatti), 
e.g. "cessation," "Nibbana," etc., which make the unformed dhamma known — an 
existent concept. (From commentary to Puggalapahnatti, condensed — see also Dhs-a 
390f.) 

All this shows that the word pannatti carries the meanings of either appellation or 
concept or both together, and that no English word quite corresponds. 
12. "'But since the object is stated with individual essences': the breakup of states 
with individual essences, their destruction, their fall — [all] that has to do only with 
states with individual essences. Hence the Blessed One said: 'Bhikkhus, aging-and- 
death is impermanent, formed, dependently arisen' (S II 26). ... If it cannot reach 
absorption because of [its object being] states with individual essences then what 
about the supramundane jhanas and certain of the immaterial jhanas? It was to answer 
this that he said 'now with special development the supramundane jhana' and so on" 
(Vism-mht 243). Kasina jhana, for example, has a concept (pannatti) as its object 
(IV29) and a concept is a dhamma without individual essence (asabhava-dhamma). 

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progressive development of the purification and the immaterial jhanas do so by 
means of development consisting in the surmounting of the object (see Ch. X) 
since there [in those two immaterial jhanas] there is merely the surmounting of 
the object of jhana that had already reached absorption. But here [in mundane 
mindfulness of death] there is neither so the jhana only reaches access. And that 
access is known as "mindfulness of death" too since it arises through its means. 

41. A bhikkhu devoted to mindfulness of death is constantly diligent. He 
acquires perception of disenchantment with all kinds of becoming (existence). 
He conquers attachment to life. He condemns evil. He avoids much storing. He 
has no stain of avarice about requisites. Perception of impermanence grows in 
him, following upon which there appear the perceptions of pain and not-self. 
But while beings who have not developed [mindfulness of] death fall victims to 
fear, horror and confusion at the time of death as though suddenly seized by 
wild beasts, spirits, snakes, robbers, or murderers, he dies undeluded and fearless 
without falling into any such state. And if he does not attain the deathless here 
and now, he is at least headed for a happy destiny on the breakup of the body. 

Now, when a man is truly wise, 
His constant task will surely be 
This recollection about death 
Blessed with such mighty potency. 

This is the section dealing with the recollection of death in the detailed 
explanation. 

[(8) Mindfulness Occupied with the Body] 

42. Now comes the description of the development of mindfulness occupied 
with the body as a meditation subject, which is never promulgated except after 
an Enlightened One's arising, and is outside the province of any sectarians. It 
has been commended by the Blessed One in various ways in different suttas 
thus: "Bhikkhus, when one thing is developed and repeatedly practiced, it leads 
to a supreme sense of urgency, to supreme benefit, to supreme surcease of bondage, 
to supreme mindfulness and full awareness, to acquisition of knowledge and 
vision, to a happy life here and now, to realization of the fruit of clear vision and 
deliverance. What is that one thing? It is mindfulness occupied with the body" 
(A I 43). And thus: "Bhikkhus, they savour the deathless who savour mindfulness 
occupied with the body; they do not savour the deathless who do not savour 
mindfulness occupied with the body 13 [240] They have savoured the deathless 
who have savoured mindfulness occupied with the body; they have not savoured 
. . . They have neglected . . . they have not neglected . . . They have missed . . . they 
have found the deathless who have found mindfulness occupied with the body" 
(A I 45). And it has been described in fourteen sections in the passage beginning, 
"And how developed, bhikkhus, how repeatedly practiced is mindfulness 
occupied with the body of great fruit, of great benefit? Here, bhikkhus, a bhikkhu, 
gone to the forest ..." (M III 89), that is to say, the sections on breathing, on 

13. In the Ariguttara text the negative and positive clauses are in the opposite order. 

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postures, on the four kinds of full awareness, on attention directed to 
repulsiveness, on attention directed to elements, and on the nine charnel-ground 
contemplations. 

43. Herein, the three, that is to say, the sections on postures, on the four kinds of 
full awareness (see M-a I 253f.), and on attention directed to elements, as they are 
stated [in that sutta], deal with insight. Then the nine sections on the charnel- 
ground contemplations, as stated there, deal with that particular phase of insight 
knowledge called contemplation of danger. And any development of 
concentration in the bloated, etc., that might be implied there has already been 
explained in the Description of Foulness (Ch. VI). So there are only the two, that 
is, the sections on breathing and on directing attention to repulsiveness, that, as 
stated there, deal with concentration. Of these two, the section on breathing is a 
separate meditation subject, namely, mindfulness of breathing. 

[Text] 

44. What is intended here as mindfulness occupied with the body is the thirty- 
two aspects. This meditation subject is taught as the direction of attention to 
repulsiveness thus: "Again, bhikkhus, a bhikkhu reviews this body, up from the 
soles of the feet and down from the top of the hair and contained in the skin, as 
full of many kinds of filth thus: In this body there are head hairs, body hairs, 
nails, teeth, skin, flesh, sinews, bones, bone marrow, kidney, heart, liver, midriff, 
spleen, lungs, bowels, entrails, gorge, dung, bile, phlegm, pus, blood, sweat, fat, 
tears, grease, spittle, snot, oil of the joints, and urine" (M III 90), the brain being 
included in the bone marrow in this version [with a total of only thirty-one aspects]. 

45. Here is the description of the development introduced by a commentary on 
the text. 

[Word Commentary] 

This body: this filthy body constructed out of the four primary elements. Up from 
the soles of the feet: from the soles of the feet upwards. Down from the top of the hair: 
from the highest part of the hair downwards. Contained in the skin: terminated all 
round by the skin. Reviews ... as full of many kinds of filth: [241] he sees that this 
body is packed with the filth of various kinds beginning with head hairs. How? 
"In this body there are head hairs ... urine." 

46. Herein, there are means, there are found. In this: in this, which is expressed 
thus: "Up from the soles of the feet and down from the top of the hair and 
contained in the skin, as full of many kinds of filth." Body: the carcass; for it is 
the carcass that is called "body" {kayo.) because it is a conglomeration of filth, 
because such vile (kucchita) things as the head hairs, etc., and the hundred 
diseases beginning with eye disease, have it as their origin {aya). 

Head hairs, body hairs: these things beginning with head hairs are the thirty- 
two aspects. The construction here should be understood in this way: In this 
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47. No one who searches throughout the whole of this fathom-long carcass, 
starting upwards from the soles of the feet, starting downwards from the top of 
the head, and starting from the skin all round, ever finds even the minutest atom 
at all beautiful in it, such as a pearl, or a gem, or beryl, or aloes, 14 or saffron, or 
camphor, or talcum powder; on the contrary he finds nothing but the various 
very malodorous, offensive, drab-looking sorts of filth consisting of the head 
hairs, body hairs, and the rest. Hence it is said: "In this body there are head 
hairs, body hairs ... urine." 

This is the commentary on the word-construction here. 

[Development] 

48. Now, a clansman who, as a beginner, wants to develop this meditation 
subject should go to a good friend of the kind already described (III. 61-73) and 
learn it. And the teacher who expounds it to him should tell him the sevenfold 
skill in learning and the tenfold skill in giving attention. 

[The Sevenfold Skill in Learning] 

Herein, the sevenfold skill in learning should be told thus: (1) as verbal recitation, 
(2) as mental recitation, (3) as to colour, (4) as to shape, (5) as to direction, (6) as 
to location, (7) as to delimitation. 

49. 1. This meditation subject consists in giving attention to repulsiveness. 
Even if one is master of the Tipitaka, the verbal recitation should still be done at 
the time of first giving it attention. For the meditation subject only becomes 
evident to some through recitation, as it did to the two elders who learned the 
meditation subject from the Elder Maha Deva of the Hill Country (Malaya). On 
being asked for the meditation subject, it seems, the elder [242] gave the text of 
the thirty-two aspects, saying, "Do only this recitation for four months." 
Although they were familiar respectively with two and three Pitakas, it was only 
at the end of four months of recitation of the meditation subject that they became 
stream-en terers, with right apprehension [of the text]. So the teacher who expounds 
the meditation subject should tell the pupil to do the recitation verbally first. 

50. Now, when he does the recitation, he should divide it up into the "skin 
pentad," etc., and do it forwards and backwards. After saying "Head hairs, 
body hairs, nails, teeth, skin," he should repeat it backwards, "Skin, teeth, nails, 
body hairs, head hairs." 

51. Next to that, with the "kidney pentad," after saying "Flesh, sinews, bones, 
bone marrow, kidney," he should repeat it backwards, "Kidney, bone marrow, 
bones, sinews, flesh; skin, teeth, nails, body hairs, head hairs." 

52. Next, with the "lungs pentad," after saying "Heart, liver, midriff, spleen, 
lungs," he should repeat it backwards, "Lungs, spleen, midriff, liver, heart; kidney, 
bone marrow, bones, sinews, flesh; skin, teeth, nails, body hairs, head hairs." 



14. Agaru — "aloes": not so spelled in PED; but see again. 



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53. Next, with the "brain pentad," after saying "Bowels, entrails, gorge, dung, 
brain," he should repeat it backwards, "Brain, dung, gorge, entrails, bowels; 
lungs, spleen, midriff, liver, heart; kidney, bone marrow, bones, sinews, flesh; 
skin, teeth, nails, body hairs, head hairs." 

54. Next, with the "fat sextad," after saying "Bile, phlegm, pus, blood, sweat, 
fat," he should repeat it backwards, "Fat, sweat, blood, pus, phlegm, bile; brain, 
dung, gorge, entrails, bowels; lungs, spleen, midriff, liver, heart; kidney, bone 
marrow, bones, sinews, flesh; skin, teeth, nails, body hairs, head hairs." 

55. Next, with the "urine sextad," after saying "Tears, grease, spittle, snot, oil 
of the joints, urine," he should repeat it backwards, "Urine, oil of the joints, snot, 
spittle, grease, tears; fat, sweat, blood, pus, phlegm, bile; brain, dung, gorge, 
entrails, bowels; lungs, spleen, midriff, liver, heart; kidney, bone marrow, bones, 
sinews, flesh; skin, teeth, nails, body hairs, head hairs." [243] 

56. The recitation should be done verbally in this way a hundred times, a 
thousand times, even a hundred thousand times. For it is through verbal recitation 
that the meditation subject becomes familiar, and the mind being thus prevented 
from running here and there, the parts become evident and seem like [the fingers 
of] a pair of clasped hands, 15 like a row of fence posts. 

57. 2. The mental recitation should be done just as it is done verbally. For the 
verbal recitation is a condition for the mental recitation, and the mental recitation 
is a condition for the penetration of the characteristic [of foulness]. 16 

58. 3. As to colour: the colour of the head hairs, etc., should be defined. 

4. As to shape: their shape should be defined too. 

5. As to direction: in this body, upwards from the navel is the upward direction, 
and downwards from it is the downward direction. So the direction should be 
defined thus: "This part is in this direction." 

6. As to location: the location of this or that part should be defined thus: "This 
part is established in this location." 

59. 7. As to delimitation: there are two kinds of delimitation, that is, delimitation 
of the similar and delimitation of the dissimilar. Herein, delimitation of the 
similar should be understood in this way: "This part is delimited above and 
below and around by this." Delimitation of the dissimilar should be understood 
as non-intermixed-ness in this way: "Head hairs are not body hairs, and body 
hairs are not head hairs." 

60. When the teacher tells the skill in learning in seven ways thus, he should 
do so knowing that in certain suttas this meditation subject is expounded from 
the point of view of repulsiveness and in certain suttas from the point of view of 
elements. For in the Maha Satipatthana Sutta (DN 22) it is expounded only as 
repulsiveness. In the Maha Hatthipadopama Sutta (MN 28), in the Maha 

15. Hatthasahkhalika — "the fingers of a pair of clasped hands," "a row of fingers 
(ahgulipanti) (Vism-mht 246). 

16. "For the penetration of the characteristic of foulness, for the observation of 
repulsiveness as the individual essence" (Vism-mht 246). 

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Rahulovada Sutta (MN 62), and the Dhatuvibhahga (MN 140, also Vibh 82), it 
is expounded as elements. In the Kayagatasati Sutta (MN 119), however, four 
jhanas are expounded with reference to one to whom it has appeared as a 
colour [kasina] (see III. 107). Herein, it is an insight meditation subject that is 
expounded as elements and a serenity meditation subject that is expounded as 
repulsiveness. Consequently it is only the serenity meditation subject [that is 
relevant] here. 

[The Tenfold Skill in Giving Attention] 

61. Having thus told the sevenfold skill in learning, he should tell the tenfold 
skill in giving attention as follows: (1) as to following the order, (2) not too 
quickly, (3) not too slowly (4) as to warding off distraction, (5) as to surmounting 
the concept, (6) as to successive leaving, (7) as to absorption, (8)-(10) as to the 
three suttantas. 

62. 1. Herein, as to following the order: from the time of beginning the recitation 
[244] attention should be given following the serial order without skipping. For 
just as when someone who has no skill climbs a thirty-two-rung ladder using 
every other step, his body gets exhausted and he falls without completing the 
climb, so too, one who gives it attention skipping [parts] becomes exhausted in 
his mind and does not complete the development since he fails to get the 
satisfaction that ought to be got with successful development. 

63. 2. Also when he gives attention to it following the serial order, he should 
do so not too quickly. For just as when a man sets out on a three-league journey, 
even if he has already done the journey out and back a hundred times rapidly 
without taking note of [turnings] to be taken and avoided, though he may finish 
his journey, he still has to ask how to get there, so too, when the meditator gives 
his attention to the meditation subject too quickly, though he may reach the end 
of the meditation subject, it still does not become clear or bring about any 
distinction. So he should not give his attention to it too quickly. 

64. 3. And as "not too quickly," so also not too slowly. For just as when a man 
wants to do a three-league journey in one day, if he loiters on the way among 
trees, rocks, pools, etc., he does not finish the journey in a day and needs two or 
three to complete it, so too, if the meditator gives his attention to the meditation 
subject too slowly, he does not get to the end and it does not become a condition 
for distinction. 

65. 4. As to warding off distraction: he must ward off [temptation] to drop the 
meditation subject and to let his mind get distracted among the variety of external 
objects. For if not, just as when a man has entered on a one-foot-wide cliff path, 
if he looks about here and there without watching his step, he may miss his 
footing and fall down the cliff, which is perhaps as high as a hundred men, so 
too, when there is outward distraction, the meditation subject gets neglected 
and deteriorates. So he should give his attention to it warding off distraction. 

66. 5. As to surmounting the concept: this [name-] concept beginning with "head 
hairs, body hairs" must be surmounted and consciousness established on [the 
aspect] "repulsive." For just as when men find a water hole in a forest in a time 



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of drought, they hang up some kind of signal there such as a palm leaf, and 
people come to bathe and drink guided by the signal, [245] but when the way 
has become plain with their continual traffic, there is no further need of the 
signal and they go to bathe and drink there whenever they want, so too, when 
repulsiveness becomes evident to him as he is giving his attention to the 
meditation subject through the means of the [name-] concept "head hairs, body 
hairs," he must surmount the concept "head hairs, body hairs" and establish 
consciousness on only the actual repulsiveness. 

67. 6. As to successive leaving: in giving his attention he should eventually leave 
out any [parts] that do not appear to him. For when a beginner gives his attention 
to head hairs, his attention then carries on till it arrives at the last part, that is, 
urine and stops there; and when he gives his attention to urine, his attention 
then carries on till it arrives back at the first part, that is, head hairs, and stops 
there. As he persists in giving his attention thus, some parts appear to him and 
others do not. Then he should work on those that have appeared till one out of 
any two appears the clearer. He should arouse absorption by again and again 
giving attention to the one that has appeared thus. 

68. Here is a simile. Suppose a hunter wanted to catch a monkey that lived in a 
grove of thirty-two palms, and he shot an arrow through a leaf of the palm that 
stood at the beginning and gave a shout; then the monkey went leaping 
successively from palm to palm till it reached the last palm; and when the 
hunter went there too and did as before, it came back in like manner to the first 
palm; and being followed thus again and again, after leaping from each place 
where a shout was given, it eventually jumped on to one palm, and firmly seizing 
the palm shoot's leaf spike in the middle, would not leap any more even when 
shot — so it is with this. 

69. The application of the simile is this. The thirty-two parts of the body are like 
the thirty-two palms in the grove. The monkey is like the mind. The meditator is 
like the hunter. The range of the meditator's mind in the body with its thirty-two 
parts as object is like the monkey's inhabiting the palm grove of thirty-two 
palms. The settling down of the meditator's mind in the last part after going 
successively [from part to part] when he began by giving his attention to head 
hairs is like the monkey's leaping from palm to palm and going to the last palm, 
[246] when the hunter shot an arrow through the leaf of the palm where it was 
and gave a shout. Likewise in the return to the beginning. His doing the 
preliminary work on those parts that have appeared, leaving behind those that 
did not appear while, as he gave his attention to them again and again, some 
appeared to him and some did not, is like the monkey's being followed and 
leaping up from each place where a shout is given. The meditator's repeated 
attention given to the part that in the end appears the more clearly of any two 
that have appeared to him and his finally reaching absorption, is like the 
monkey's eventually stopping in one palm, firmly seizing the palm shoot's leaf 
spike in the middle and not leaping up even when shot. 

70. There is another simile too. Suppose an alms-food-eater bhikkhu went to 
live near a village of thirty-two families, and when he got two lots of alms at the 
first house he left out one [house] beyond it, and next day, when he got three lots 



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of [alms at the first house] he left out two [houses] beyond it, and on the third day 
he got his bowl full at the first [house], and went to the sitting hall and ate — so it 
is with this. 

71. The thirty- two aspects are like the village with the thirty-two families. The 
meditator is like the alms-food eater. The meditator's preliminary work is like the 
alms-food eater's going to live near the village. The meditator's continuing to 
give attention after leaving out those parts that do not appear and doing his 
preliminary work on the pair of parts that do appear is like the alms-food eater's 
getting two lots of alms at the first house and leaving out one [house] beyond it, 
and like his next day getting three [lots of alms at the first house] and leaving 
out two [houses] beyond it. The arousing of absorption by giving attention 
again and again to that which has appeared the more clearly of two is like the 
alms-food eater's getting his bowl full at the first [house] on the third day and 
then going to the sitting hall and eating. 

72. 7. As to absorption: as to absorption part by part. The intention here is this: 
it should be understood that absorption is brought about in each one of the 
parts. 

73. 8-10. As to the three suttantas: the intention here is this: it should be 
understood that the three suttantas, namely, those on higher consciousness, 17 on 
coolness, and on skill in the enlightenment factors, have as their purpose the 
linking of energy with concentration. 

74. 8. Herein, this sutta should be understood to deal with higher 
consciousness: "Bhikkhus, there are three signs that should be given attention 
from time to time by a bhikkhu intent on higher consciousness. The sign of 
concentration should be given attention from time to time, the sign of exertion 
should be given attention from time to time, the sign of equanimity should be 
given attention from time to time. [247] If a bhikkhu intent on higher 
consciousness gives attention only to the sign of concentration, then his 
consciousness may conduce to idleness. If a bhikkhu intent on higher 
consciousness gives attention only to the sign of exertion, then his consciousness 
may conduce to agitation. If a bhikkhu intent on higher consciousness gives 
attention only to the sign of equanimity, then his consciousness may not become 
rightly concentrated for the destruction of cankers. But, bhikkhus, when a bhikkhu 
intent on higher consciousness gives attention from time to time to the sign of 
concentration ... to the sign of exertion ... to the sign of equanimity, then his 
consciousness becomes malleable, wieldy and bright, it is not brittle and becomes 
rightly concentrated for the destruction of cankers. 

75. "Bhikkhus, just as a skilled goldsmith or goldsmith's apprentice prepares 
his furnace and heats it up and puts crude gold into it with tongs; and he blows 
on it from time to time, sprinkles water on it from time to time, and looks on at it 
from time to time; and if the goldsmith or goldsmith's apprentice only blew on 
the crude gold, it would burn and if he only sprinkled water on it, it would cool 
down, and if he only looked on at it, it would not get rightly refined; but, when 

17. "The higher consciousness" is a term for jhana. 

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the goldsmith or goldsmith's apprentice blows on the crude gold from time to 
time, sprinkles water on it from time to time, and looks on at it from time to time, 
then it becomes malleable, wieldy and bright, it is not brittle, and it submits 
rightly to being wrought; whatever kind of ornament he wants to work it into, 
whether a chain or a ring or a necklace or a gold fillet, it serves his purpose. 

76. "So too, bhikkhus, there are three signs that should be given attention from 
time to time by a bhikkhu intent on higher consciousness ... becomes rightly 
concentrated for the destruction of cankers. [248] He attains the ability to be a 
witness, through realization by direct-knowledge, of any state realizable by 
direct-knowledge to which he inclines his mind, whenever there is occasion" (A 
I 256-58). 1S 

77. 9. This sutta deals with coolness: "Bhikkhus, when a bhikkhu possesses 
six things, he is able to realize the supreme coolness. What six? Here, bhikkhus, 
when consciousness should be restrained, he restrains it; when consciousness 
should be exerted, he exerts it; when consciousness should be encouraged, he 
encourages it; when consciousness should be looked on at with equanimity, he 
looks on at it with equanimity. He is resolute on the superior [state to be attained], 
he delights in Nibbana. Possessing these six things a bhikkhu is able to realize 
the supreme coolness" (A III 435). 

78. 10. Skill in the enlightenment factors has already been dealt with in the 
explanation of skill in absorption (IV.51, 57) in the passage beginning, 
"Bhikkhus, when the mind is slack, that is not the time for developing the 
tranquillity enlightenment factor ..." (S V 113). 

79. So the meditator should make sure that he has apprehended this sevenfold 
skill in learning well and has properly defined this tenfold skill in giving 
attention, thus learning the meditation subject properly with both kinds of skill. 

[Starting the Practice] 

80. If it is convenient for him to live in the same monastery as the teacher, then 
he need not get it explained in detail thus [to begin with], but as he applies 
himself to the meditation subject after he has made quite sure about it he can 
have each successive stage explained as he reaches each distinction. 

One who wants to live elsewhere, however, must get it explained to him in 
detail in the way already given, and he must turn it over and over, getting all the 
difficulties solved. He should leave an abode of an unsuitable kind as described 
in the Description of the Earth Kasina, and go to live in a suitable one. Then he 
should sever the minor impediments (IV20) and set about the preliminary work 
for giving attention to repulsiveness. 



18. Vism-mht explains "sati sati ayatane" (rendered here by "whenever there is 
occasion" with "tasmirn tasmirn pubbahetu-adi-karane sati" ("when there is this or that 
reason consisting in a previous cause, etc."); M-a IV 146 says: "Sati sati karane. Kim pan' 
ettha karanan'ti. Abhinna' va karanam ('Whenever there is a reason. But what is the 
reason here? The direct-knowledge itself is the reason')." 



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[The Thirty-two Aspects in Detail] 

81. When he sets about it, he should first apprehend the [learning] sign in 
head hairs. How? The colour should be defined first by plucking out one or two 
head hairs and placing them on the palm of the hand. [249] He can also look at 
them in the hair-cutting place, or in a bowl of water or rice gruel. If the ones he 
sees are black when he sees them, they should be brought to mind as "black;" if 
white, as "white;" if mixed, they should be brought to mind in accordance with 
those most prevalent. And as in the case of head hairs, so too the sign should be 
apprehended visually with the whole of the "skin pentad." 

82. Having apprehended the sign thus and (a) defined all the other parts of the 
body by colour, shape, direction, location, and delimitation (§58), he should then (b) 
define repulsiveness in five ways, that is, by colour, shape, odour, habitat, and location. 

83. Here is the explanation of all the parts given in successive order. 

[Head Hairs] 

(a) Firstly head hairs are black in their normal colour, the colour of fresh 
aritthaka seeds. 19 As to shape, they are the shape of long round measuring rods. 20 
As to direction, they lie in the upper direction. As to location, their location is the 
wet inner skin that envelops the skull; it is bounded on both sides by the roots of 
the ears, in front by the forehead, and behind by the nape of the neck. 21 As to 
delimitation, they are bounded below by the surface of their own roots, which are 
fixed by entering to the amount of the tip of a rice grain into the inner skin that 
envelops the head. They are bounded above by space, and all round by each 
other. There are no two hairs together. This is their delimitation by the similar. 
Head hairs are not body hairs, and body hairs are not head hairs; being likewise 
not intermixed with the remaining thirty-one parts, the head hairs are a separate 
part. This is their delimitation by the dissimilar. Such is the definition of head 
hairs as to colour and so on. 

84. (b) Their definition as to repulsiveness in the five ways, that is, by colour, etc., 
is as follows. Head hairs are repulsive in colour as well as in shape, odour, 
habitat, and location. 

85. For on seeing the colour of a head hair in a bowl of inviting rice gruel or 
cooked rice, people are disgusted and say, "This has got hairs in it. Take it 
away." So they are repulsive in colour. Also when people are eating at night, they 
are likewise disgusted by the mere sensation of a hair-shaped akka-bark or makaci- 
bark fibre. So they are repulsive in shape. 

86. And the odour of head hairs, unless dressed with a smearing of oil, scented 
with flowers, etc., is most offensive. And it is still worse when they are put in the 



19. Aritthaka as a plant is not in PED; see CPD — Sinh penela uta. 

20. There are various readings. 

21. "Galavataka," here rendered by "nape of the neck," which the context demands. 
But elsewhere (e.g. IV47, VIII. 110) "base of the neck" seems indicated, that is, where 
the neck fits on to the body, or "gullet." 



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fire. [250] Even if head hairs are not directly repulsive in colour and shape, still 
their odour is directly repulsive. Just as a baby's excrement, as to its colour, is the 
colour of turmeric and, as to its shape, is the shape of a piece of turmeric root, 
and just as the bloated carcass of a black dog thrown on a rubbish heap, as to its 
colour, is the colour of a ripe palmyra fruit and, as to its shape, is the shape of a 
[mandolin-shaped] drum left face down, and its fangs are like jasmine buds, 
and so even if both these are not directly repulsive in colour and shape, still their 
odour is directly repulsive, so too, even if head hairs are not directly repulsive in 
colour and shape, still their odour is directly repulsive. 

87. But just as pot herbs that grow on village sewage in a filthy place are 
disgusting to civilized people and unusable, so also head hairs are disgusting 
since they grow on the sewage of pus, blood, urine, dung, bile, phlegm, and the 
like. This is the repulsive aspect of the habitat. 

88. And these head hairs grow on the heap of the [other] thirty-one parts as 
fungi do on a dung-hill. And owing to the filthy place they grow in they are 
quite as unappetizing as vegetables growing on a charnel-ground, on a midden, 
etc., as lotuses or water lilies growing in drains, and so on. This is the repulsive 
aspect of their location. 

89. And as in the case of head hairs, so also the repulsiveness of all the parts 
should be defined (b) in the same five ways by colour, shape, odour, habitat, and 
location. All, however, must be defined individually (a) by colour, shape, direction, 
location, and delimitation, as follows. 

[Body Hairs] 

90. Herein, firstly, as to natural colour, body, hairs are not pure black like head 
hairs but blackish brown. As to shape, they are the shape of palm roots with the 
tips bent down. As to direction, they lie in the two directions. As to location, 
except for the locations where the head hairs are established, and for the palms 
of the hands and soles of the feet, they grow in most of the rest of the inner skin 
that envelops the body. As to delimitation, they are bounded below by the surface 
of their own roots, which are fixed by entering to the extent of a likha 22 into the 
inner skin that envelops the body, above by space, and all round by each other. There 
are no two body hairs together. This is the delimitation by the similar. But their 
delimitation by the dissimilar is like that for the head hairs. [Note: These two last 
sentences are repeated verbatim at the end of the description of each part. They 
are not translated in the remaining thirty parts]. 

[Nails] 

91. "Nails" is the name for the twenty nail plates. They are all white as to 
colour. As to shape, they are the shape of fish scales. As to direction: the toenails 
are in the lower direction; the fingernails are in the upper direction. [251] So 
they grow in the two directions. As to location, they are fixed on the tips of the 
backs of the fingers and toes. As to delimitation, they are bounded in the two 

22. A measure of length, as much as a "louse's head." 

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directions by the flesh of the ends of the fingers and toes, and inside by the flesh 
of the backs of the fingers and toes, and externally and at the end by space, and 
all round by each other. There are no two nails together . . . 

[Teeth] 

92. There are thirty-two tooth bones in one whose teeth are complete. They are 
white in colour. As to shape, they are of various shapes; for firstly in the lower row, 
the four middle teeth are the shape of pumpkin seeds set in a row in a lump of 
clay; that on each side of them has one root and one point and is the shape of a 
jasmine bud; each one after that has two roots and two points and is the shape of 
a wagon prop; then two each side with three roots and three points, then two 
each side four-rooted and four-pointed. Likewise in the upper row. As to direction, 
they lie in the upper direction. As to location, they are fixed in the jawbones. As 
to delimitation, they are bounded by the surface of their own roots which are 
fixed in the jawbones; they are bounded above by space, and all round by each 
other. There are no two teeth together . . . 

[Skin (Taca)] 

93. The inner skin envelops the whole body. Outside it is what is called the 
outer cuticle, which is black, brown or yellow in colour, and when that from the 
whole of the body is compressed together, it amounts to only as much as a 
jujube-fruit kernel. But as to colour, the skin itself is white; and its whiteness 
becomes evident when the outer cuticle is destroyed by contact with the flame of 
a fire or the impact of a blow and so on. 

94. As to shape, it is the shape of the body in brief. But in detail, the skin of the 
toes is the shape of silkworms' cocoons; the skin of the back of the foot is the 
shape of shoes with uppers; the skin of the calf is the shape of a palm leaf 
wrapping cooked rice; the skin of the thighs is the shape of a long sack full of 
paddy; the skin of the buttocks is the shape of a cloth strainer full of water; the 
skin of the back is the shape of hide streched over a plank; the skin of the belly is 
the shape of the hide stretched over the body of a lute; the skin of the chest is more or 
less square; the skin of both arms is the shape of the hide stretched over a quiver; the 
skin of the backs of the hands is the shape of a razor box, or the shape of a comb case; 
the skin of the fingers is the shape of a key box; the skin of the neck is the shape of a 
collar for the throat; the skin of the face [252] is the shape of an insects' nest full of 
holes; the skin of the head is the shape of a bowl bag. 

95. The meditator who is discerning the skin should first define the inner skin 
that covers the face, working his knowledge over the face beginning with the 
upper lip. Next, the inner skin of the frontal bone. Next, he should define the 
inner skin of the head, separating, as it were, the inner skin's connection with 
the bone by inserting his knowledge in between the cranium bone and the inner 
skin of the head, as he might his hand in between the bag and the bowl put in 
the bag. Next, the inner skin of the shoulders. Next, the inner skin of the right 
arm forwards and backwards; and then in the same way the inner skin of the left 



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arm. Next, after defining the inner skin of the back, he should define the inner 
skin of the right leg forwards and backwards; then the inner skin of the left leg 
in the same way. Next, the inner skin of the groin, the paunch, the bosom and the 
neck should be successively defined. Then, after defining the inner skin of the 
lower jaw next after that of the neck, he should finish on arriving at the lower lip. 
When he discerns it in the gross in this way, it becomes evident to him more 
subtly too. 

96. As to direction, it lies in both directions. As to location, it covers the whole body 
As to delimitation, it is bounded below by its fixed surface, and above by space . . . 

[Flesh] 

97. There are nine hundred pieces of flesh. As to colour, it is all red, like kimsuka 
flowers. As to shape, the flesh of the calves is the shape of cooked rice in a palm- 
leaf bag. The flesh of the thighs is the shape of a rolling pin. 23 The flesh of the 
buttocks is the shape of the end of an oven. The flesh of the back is the shape of 
a slab of palm sugar. The flesh between each two ribs is the shape of clay mortar 
squeezed thin in a flattened opening. The flesh of the breast is the shape of a 
lump of clay made into a ball and flung down. The flesh of the two upper arms 
is the shape of a large skinned rat and twice the size. When he discerns it 
grossly in this way, it becomes evident to him subtly too. 

98. As to direction, it lies in both directions. As to location, it is plastered over the 
three hundred and odd bones. [253] As to delimitation, it is bounded below by its 
surface, which is fixed on to the collection of bones, and above by the skin, and 
all round each by each other piece . . . 

[Sinews] 

99. There are nine hundred sinews. As to colour, all the sinews are white. As to 
shape, they have various shapes. For five of great sinews that bind the body together 
start out from the upper part of the neck and descend by the front, and five more 
by the back, and then five by the right and five by the left. And of those that bind 
the right hand, five descend by the front of the hand and five by the back; likewise 
those that bind the left hand. And of those that bind the right foot, five descend 
by the front and five by the back; likewise those that bind the left foot. So there are 
sixty great sinews called "body supporters" which descend [from the neck] and 
bind the body together; and they are also called "tendons." They are all the 
shape of yam shoots. But there are others scattered over various parts of the body, 
which are finer than the last-named. They are the shape of strings and cords. 
There are others still finer, the shape of creepers. Others still finer are the shape 
of large lute strings. Yet others are the shape of coarse thread. The sinews in the 
backs of the hands and feet are the shape of a bird's claw. The sinews in the head 
are the shape of children's head nets. The sinews in the back are the shape of a 

23. Nisadapota — "rolling pin": (= sila-puttaka — Vism-mht 250) What is meant is probably 
the stone roller, thicker in the middle than at the ends, with which curry spices, etc., are 
normally rolled by hand on a small stone slab in Sri Lanka today. 

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wet net spread out in the sun. The rest of the sinews, following the various limbs, 
are the shape of a net jacket fitted to the body. 

100. As to direction, they lie in the two directions. As to location, they are to be 
found binding the bones of the whole body together. As to delimitation, they are 
bounded below by their surface, which is fixed on to the three hundred bones, 
and above by the portions that are in contact with the flesh and the inner skin, 
and all round by each other . . . 

[Bones] 

101. Excepting the thirty- two teeth bones, these consist of the remaining sixty- 
four hand bones, sixty-four foot bones, sixty-four soft bones dependent on the 
flesh, two heel bones; then in each leg two ankle bones, two shin bones, one knee 
bone and one thigh bone; then two hip bones, eighteen spine bones, [254] twenty- 
four rib bones, fourteen breast bones, one heart bone (sternum), two collar bones, two 
shoulder blade bones, 24 two upper-arm bones, two pairs of forearm bones, two neck 
bones, two jaw bones, one nose bone, two eye bones, two ear bones, one frontal bone, 
one occipital bone, nine sincipital bones. So there are exactly three hundred bones. 
As to colour, they are all white. As to shape, they are of various shapes. 

102. Herein, the end bones of the toes are the shape of kataka seeds. Those next 
to them in the middle sections are the shape of jackfruit seeds. The bones of the 
base sections are the shape of small drums. The bones of the back of the foot are 
the shape of a bunch of bruised yarns. The heel bone is the shape of the seed of 
a single-stone palmyra fruit. 

103. The ankle bones are the shape of [two] play balls bound together. The 
shin bones, in the place where they rest on the ankle bones, are the shape of a 
sindi shoot without the skin removed. The small shin bone is the shape of a[toy] 
bow stick. The large one is the shape of a shrivelled snake's back. The knee bone 
is the shape of a lump of froth melted on one side. Herein, the place where the 
shin bone rests on it is the shape of a blunt cow's horn. The thigh bone is the 
shape of a badly-pared 25 handle for an axe or hatchet. The place where it fits into 
the hip bone is the shape of a play ball. The place in the hip bone where it is set 
is the shape of a big punnaga fruit with the end cut off. 

104. The two hip bones, when fastened together, are the shape of the ring- 
fastening of a smith's hammer. The buttock bone on the end [of them] is the 
shape of an inverted snake's hood. It is perforated in seven or eight places. The 
spine bones are internally the shape of lead-sheet pipes put one on top of the 
other; externally they are the shape of a string of beads. They have two or three 
rows of projections next to each other like the teeth of a saw. 

24. Kotthatthtni — "shoulder-blade bones": for kottha (= flat) cf. kotthalika §97; the 
meaning is demanded by the context, otherwise no mention would be made of these 
two bones, and the description fits. PED under this ref. has "stomach bone" (?). 
Should one read a-tikhina (blunt) or ati-khina (very sharp)? 

25. Duttacchita — "badly pared": tacchita, pp. of tacchati to pare (e.g. with an adze); not 
in PED; see M I 31,124; III 166. 

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105. Of the twenty-four rib bones, the incomplete ones are the shape of incomplete 
sabres, [255] and the complete ones are the shape of complete sabres; all together 
they are like the outspread wings of a white cock. The fourteen breast bones are the 
shape of an old chariot frame. 26 The heart bone (sternum) is the shape of the bowl of 
a spoon. The collar bones are the shape of small metal knife handles. The shoulder- 
blade bones are the shape of a Sinhalese hoe worn down on one side. 

106. The upper-arm bones are the shape of looking glass handles. The forearm 
bones are the shape of a twin palm's trunks. The wrist bones are the shape of 
lead-sheet pipes stuck together. The bones of the back of the hand are the shape 
of a bundle of bruised yams. As to the fingers, the bones of the base sections are 
the shape of small drums; those of the middle sections are the shape of immature 
jackfruit seeds; those of the end sections are the shape of kataka seeds. 

107. The seven neck bones are the shape of rings of bamboo stem threaded one 
after the other on a stick. The lower jawbone is the shape of a smith's iron 
hammer ring-fastening. The upper one is the shape of a knife for scraping [the 
rind off sugarcanes]. The bones of the eye sockets and nostril sockets are the 
shape of young palmyra seeds with the kernels removed. The frontal bone is the 
shape of an inverted bowl made of a shell. The bones of the ear-holes are the 
shape of barbers' razor boxes. The bone in the place where a cloth is tied [round 
the head] above the frontal bone and the ear holes is the shape of a piece of 
curled-up toffee flake. 27 The occipital bone is the shape of a lopsided coconut 
with a hole cut in the end. The sincipital bones are the shape of a dish made of 
an old gourd held together with stitches. 

108. As to direction, they lie in both directions. As to location, they are to be found 
indiscriminately throughout the whole body. But in particular here, the head bones 
rest on the neck bones, the neck bones on the spine bones, the spine bones on the hip 
bones, the hip bones on the thigh bones, the thigh bones on the knee bones, the knee 
bones on the shin bones, the shin bones on the ankle bones, the ankle bones on the 
bones of the back of the foot. As to delimitation, they are bounded inside by the bone 
marrow, above by the flesh, at the ends and at the roots by each other . . . 

[Bone Marrow] 

109. This is the marrow inside the various bones. As to colour, it is white. As to 
shape, [256] that inside each large bone is the shape of a large cane shoot moistened 
and inserted into a bamboo tube. That inside each small bone is the shape of a 
slender cane shoot moistened and inserted in a section of bamboo twig. As to 
direction, it lies in both directions. As to location, it is set inside the bones. As to 
delimitation, it is delimited by the inner surface of the bones . . . 



26. Panjara — "frame": not quite in this sense in PED. 

27. Sankutitaghatapunnapatalakhanda — "a piece of curled-up toffee flake." The Sinhalese 
translation suggests the following readings and resolution: sankuthita (thickened or 
boiled down (?), rather than sankutita, curled up); ghata-punna ([toffee?] "full of ghee"); 
patala (flake or slab); khanda (piece). 



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[Kidney] 

110. This is two pieces of flesh with a single ligature. As to colour, it is dull red, 
the colour of palibhaddaka (coral tree) seeds. As to shape, it is the shape of a pair 
of child's play balls; or it is the shape of a pair of mango fruits attached to a 
single stalk. As to direction, it lies in the upper direction. As to location, it is to be 
found on either side of the heart flesh, being fastened by a stout sinew that starts out 
with one root from the base of the neck and divides into two after going a short way 
As to delimitation, the kidney is bounded by what appertains to kidney . . . 

[Heart] 

111. This is the heart flesh. As to colour, it is the colour of the back of a red-lotus 
petal. As to shape, it is the shape of a lotus bud with the outer petals removed and 
turned upside down; it is smooth outside, and inside it is like the interior of a 
kosataki (loofah gourd). In those who possess understanding it is a little 
expanded; in those without understanding it is still only a bud. Inside it there is 
a hollow the size of a punnaga seed's bed where half a pasata measure of blood is 
kept, with which as their support the mind element and mind-consciousness 
element occur. 

112. That in one of greedy temperament is red; that in one of hating 
temperament is black; that in one of deluded temperament is like water that meat 
has been washed in; that in one of speculative temperament is like lentil soup in 
colour; that in one of faithful temperament is the colour of [yellow] kanikara 
flowers; that in one of understanding temperament is limpid, clear, unturbid, 
bright, pure, like a washed gem of pure water, and it seems to shine. 

113. As to direction, it lies in the upper direction. As to location, it is to be found 
in the middle between the two breasts, inside the body. As to delimitation, it is 
bounded by what appertains to heart . . . [257] 

[Liver] 

114. This is a twin slab of flesh. As to colour, it is a brownish shade of red, the 
colour of the not-too-red backs of white water-lily petals. As to shape, with its 
single root and twin ends, it is the shape of a kovilara leaf. In sluggish people it 
is single and large; in those possessed of understanding there are two or three 
small ones. As to direction, it lies in the upper direction. As to location, it is to be 
found on the right side, inside from the two breasts. As to delimitation, it is 
bounded by what appertains to liver . . . 

[Midriff] 28 

115. This is the covering of the flesh, which is of two kinds, namely, the concealed 
and the unconcealed. As to colour, both kinds are white, the colour of dnkula 
(muslin) rags. As to shape, it is the shape of its location. As to direction, the 

28. Kilomaka — "midriff": the rendering is obviously quite inadequate for what is 
described here, but there is no appropriate English word. 

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Chapter VIII Other Recollections as Meditation Subjects 

concealed midriff lies in the upper direction, the other in both directions. As to 
location, the concealed midriff is to be found concealing the heart and kidney; 
the unconcealed is to be found covering the flesh under the inner skin throughout 
the whole body. As to delimitation, it is bounded below by the flesh, above by the 
inner skin, and all round by what appertains to midriff . . . 

[Spleen] 

116. This is the flesh of the belly's "tongue." As to colour, it is blue, the colour of 
niggundi flowers. As to shape, it is seven fingers in size, without attachments, and 
the shape of a black calf's tongue. As to direction, it lies in the upper direction. As 
to location, it is to be found near the upper side of the belly to the left of the heart. 
When it comes out through a wound a being's life is terminated. As to delimitation, 
it is bounded by what appertains to spleen . . . 

[Lungs] 

117. The flesh of the lungs is divided up into two or three pieces of flesh. As to 
colour, it is red, the colour of not very ripe udumbara fig fruits. As to shape, it is the 
shape of an unevenly cut thick slice of cake. Inside, it is insipid and lacks nutritive 
essence, like a lump of chewed straw, because it is affected by the heat of the 
kamma-born fire [element] that springs up when there is need of something to 
eat and drink. As to direction, it lies in the upper direction. As to location, it is to 
be found inside the body between the two breasts, hanging above the heart [258] 
and liver and concealing them. As to delimitation, it is bounded by what 
appertains to lungs ... 

[Bowel] 

118. This is the bowel tube; it is looped 29 in twenty-one places, and in a man it 
is thirty-two hands long, and in a woman, twenty-eight hands. As to colour, it is 
white, the colour of lime [mixed] with sand. As to shape, it is the shape of a 
beheaded snake coiled up and put in a trough of blood. As to direction, it lies in 
the two directions. As to location, it is fastened above at the gullet and below to 
the excrement passage (rectum), so it is to be found inside the body between the 
limits of the gullet and the excrement passage. As to delimitation, it is bounded 
by what pertains to bowel . . . 

[Entrails (Mesentery)] 

119. This is the fastening in the places where the bowel is coiled. As to colour, 
it is white, the colour of dakasitalika 30 (white edible water lily) roots. As to shape, it is 
the shape of those roots too. As to direction, it lies in the two directions. As to 
location, it is to be found inside the twenty-one coils of the bowel, like the strings 

29. Obhagga — "looped": not in this sense in PED; see obhanjati (XI. 64 and PED). 

30. Dakasitalika: not in PED; rendered in Sinhalese translation by helmaeli (white edible 
water lily). 

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to be found inside rope-rings for wiping the feet on, sewing them together, and 
it fastens the bowel's coils together so that they do not slip down in those working 
with hoes, axes, etc., as the marionette-strings do the marionette's wooden [limbs] 
at the time of the marionette's being pulled along. As to delimitation, it is bounded 
by what appertains to entrails ... 

[Gorge] 

120. This is what has been eaten, drunk, chewed and tasted, and is present in the 
stomach. As to colour, it is the colour of swallowed food. As to shape, it is the shape of 
rice loosely tied in a cloth strainer. As to direction, it is in the upper direction. As to 
location, it is in the stomach. 

121. What is called the "stomach" is [a part of] the bowel-membrane, which is 
like the swelling [of air] produced in the middle of a length of wet cloth when it 
is being [twisted and] wrung out from the two ends. It is smooth outside. Inside, 
it is like a balloon of cloth 31 soiled by wrapping up meat refuse; or it can be said 
to be like the inside of the skin of a rotten jack fruit. It is the place where worms 
dwell seething in tangles: the thirty-two families of worms, such as round worms, 
boil-producing worms, "palm-splinter" worms, needle-mouthed worms, tape- 
worms, thread worms, and the rest. 32 When there is no food and drink, [259] etc., 
present, they leap up shrieking and pounce upon the heart's flesh; and when 
food and drink, etc., are swallowed, they wait with uplifted mouths and scramble 
to snatch the first two or three lumps swallowed. It is these worms' maternity 
home, privy, hospital and charnel ground. Just as when it has rained heavily in 
a time of drought and what has been carried by the water into the cesspit at the 
gate of an outcaste village — the various kinds of ordure 33 such as urine, excrement, 
bits of hide and bones and sinews, as well as spittle, snot, blood, etc. — gets 
mixed up with the mud and water already collected there; and after two or three 
days the families of worms appear, and it ferments, warmed by the energy of the 
sun's heat, frothing and bubbling on the top, quite black in colour, and so utterly 
stinking and loathsome that one can scarcely go near it or look at it, much less 
smell or taste it, so too, [the stomach is where] the assortment of food, drink, etc., 
falls after being pounded up by the tongue and stuck together with spittle and 

31. Mamsaka-sambupali-vethana-kilittha-pavara-pupphaka-sadisa: this is rendered into 
Sinhalese by kunu mas kasala velu porona kadek pup ("an inflated piece (or bag) of cloth, 
which has wrapped rotten meat refuse"). In PED pavara is given as "cloak, mantle" 
and (this ref.) as "the mango tree"; but there seems to be no authority for the rendering 
"mango tree," which has nothing to do with this context. Pupphaka (balloon) is not in 
PED (cf. common Burmese spelling of bubbula (bubble) as pupphula). 

32. It would be a mistake to take the renderings of these worms' names too literally. 
Ganduppada (boil-producing worm?) appears only as "earth worm" in PED, which will 
not do here. The more generally accepted reading seems to take patatantuka and 
suttaka (tape-worm and thread-worm) as two kinds rather than patatantusuttaka; neither 
is in PED. 

33. Kunapa — "ordure"; PED only gives the meaning "corpse," which does not fit the 
meaning either here or, e.g., at XI.21, where the sense of a dead body is inappropriate. 

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Chapter VIII Other Recollections as Meditation Subjects 

saliva, losing at that moment its virtues of colour, smell, taste, etc., and taking on 
the appearance of weavers' paste and dogs' vomit, then to get soused in the bile 
and phlegm and wind that have collected there, where it ferments with the 
energy of the stomach-fire's heat, seethes with the families of worms, frothing 
and bubbling on the top, till it turns into utterly stinking nauseating muck, even 
to hear about which takes away any appetite for food, drink, etc., let alone to see 
it with the eye of understanding. And when the food, drink, etc., fall into it, they 
get divided into five parts: the worms eat one part, the stomach-fire bums up 
another part, another part becomes urine, another part becomes excrement, and 
one part is turned into nourishment and sustains the blood, flesh and so on. 

122. As to delimitation, it is bounded by the stomach lining and by what 
appertains to gorge ... 

[Dung] 

123. This is excrement. As to colour, it is mostly the colour of eaten food. As to 
shape, it is the shape of its location. As to direction, it is in the lower direction. As 
to location, it is to be found in the receptacle for digested food (rectum). 

124. The receptacle for digested food is the lowest part at the end of the bowel, 
between the navel and the root of the spine. [260] It measures eight fingerbreadths 
in height and resembles a bamboo tube. Just as when rain water falls on a higher 
level it runs down to fill a lower level and stays there, so too, the receptacle for 
digested food is where any food, drink, etc., that have fallen into the receptacle 
for undigested food, have been continuously cooked and simmered by the 
stomach-fire, and have got as soft as though ground up on a stone, run down to 
through the cavities of the bowels, and it is pressed down there till it becomes 
impacted like brown clay pushed into a bamboo joint, and there it stays. 

125. As to delimitation, it is bounded by the receptacle for digested food and by 
what appertains to dung ... 

[Brain] 

126. This is the lumps of marrow to be found inside the skull. As to colour, it is 
white, the colour of the flesh of a toadstool; it can also be said that it is the colour 
of turned milk that has not yet become curd. As to shape, it is the shape of its 
location. As to direction, it belongs to the upper direction. As to location, it is to be 
found inside the skull, like four lumps of dough put together to correspond 
with the [skull's] four sutured sections. As to delimitation, it is bounded by the 
skull's inner surface and by what appertains to brain ... 

[Bile] 

127. There are two kinds of bile: local bile and free bile. Herein as to colour, the 
local bile is the colour of thick madhuka oil; the free bile is the colour of faded 
akull flowers. As to shape, bo